Social Media Interaction & Its Influence on Academic Success

While in moderation, social media can become a great way for children to connect with one another. Healthy discussions and topics that children share with one other, such as school subjects, peer interactions, and parental relations, can be an integral part of their mental development. However, in recent years social media dependency has become a mental health issue.

Without parental guidance to monitor a child’s social media activity, their studies can easily suffer as they become embroiled in the pressures often exhibited by their peers. Although mostly prevalent in adolescents and teens, younger children are becoming more readily exposed to the nefarious world of alcohol, drugs, and other factors that negatively affects their healthy mental development. Easily accessible pornographic images can be especially traumatizing for children. Constant exposure to these images and scenarios can desensitize children to situations that would otherwise have elicited and fostered compassion and empathy. Excessive internet use has been shown to diminish a child’s mental capabilities and functional abilities, causing them to lose focus on schoolwork, and negate family and kindred relationships. Some of the symptoms of such overexposure include irritability, outbursts of anger, dismay, or other emotional exhibitions when confronted by someone of authority over their internet access. Certain physical signs of overexposure include, neck strain, sleep deprivation, headaches, tics, and other maladies that affect a child’s learning concentration and social interaction. While many of these symptoms are quite obvious, the professionals at SEL for Prevention are trained to identify the less obvious signs of internet overexposure such as depression and other emotional afflictions.

Dr. Charles Sophy, a Los Angeles-based psychiatrist and Medical Director for the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services, explains that increasing one’s recognition on social media is often a rush to children and teens that negatively affects their psychology. “I’ve encountered many young children as well as teenagers and adults who have become obsessed with social media, using it as a tool to guide their self-esteem and self-worth.” However, Dr. Sophy explains that these are “false measures, and when reality sets in, anxiety, depression, and other psychiatric issues begin to emerge.”

Has social media overexposure unleashed a previously unknown mental health phenomenon in children, or has it always been prevalent in other ways? Many clinical psychologists believe that we are still in the infant stages of understanding whether or not excessive internet exposure elicit negative behaviors.  Parental monitoring is often enough to counter the negative effects of social media interaction, but extreme cases often require professional help. At SEL for Prevention, we understand how overwhelmed adults can become when they see their children immersed into the sordid world of social media overexposure. Our programs are geared toward a child’s recognition of their own self-awareness, and how their personal abilities are the beacon for their success in life.


We Must Equip Our Kids with the Tools to Recognize and Stop Emotional Manipulation

The Urban Dictionary, known for its simple (and sometimes vulgar) definitions of common terms, defines the word “manipulate” as “making people do what you want.”

Does your child participate in manipulative behavior? Click on this image to take our Facebook poll and see if you qualify for our Trashy Tricks study.

It’s a straightforward definition for a dangerous behavior. 

The act of emotional manipulation isn’t just a single-player game. There’s the manipulator, the person performing the act. There’s also the manipulatee, the person on the receiving end of the behavior.

Unfortunately, the manipulatee is basically a pawn, often completely unaware of the manipulation. The manipulator walks away unscathed, leaving the manipulatee feeling foolish, duped, drained, resentful, mistrustful, helpless and powerless.

Take me, for example. I have been called a sucker (manipulatee) many times in the past, suckered out of jewelry, clothes, and money. I have also been suckered into doing things that I really, no really, did not want to do; it’s the times like these when I get really mad at myself.

Don’t worry about me, though. I finally smartened up after sharing one of my stories with a friend, who only stopped laughing at me long enough to say, “Pam, seriously? Let’s go to a tattoo parlor to get sucker imprinted on your forehead as a reminder to Stop Being One!”

We all have different turning points and that was mine.

Gaining the Advantage

Once I began studying the behaviors that people use to manipulate others, I realized that those who are vulnerable would gain an advantage if exposed to the nuances of this elusive behavior. Equipped with those tools, “suckers” like me would have a better chance of responding in a healthy way.

I also realized that children and adolescents are vulnerable too.

I started wondering:

  • What if a child learned to recognize manipulative behaviors in others?
  • Would this child be more likely to express a healthy, rather than destructive, response?
  • Could this knowledge also be useful in preventing teens from falling victim to the dangerous consequences of manipulation?
  • What about during adulthood?

I put my imagination to work and developed SEL for Prevention. This unique social and emotional learning program gives kids a strategy for recognizing, labeling, and stopping manipulation. The sooner children learn to identify manipulative behavior, the better. Don’t wait until they reach their turning point.

To learn more about this fascinating topic, schedule your free, live product overview today.


Build Protective Factors to Keep Children Safe

Upstream Prevention builds emotional strength, self-esteem, and positive thinking. It is the bridge to positive mental health in children and adolescents.

SEL for Prevention promotes positive mental health through universal instruction. We offer a comprehensive Upstream Prevention approach that is tailored to meet the social and emotional learning needs of all children and adolescents.

Positive Outcomes and Protective Factors / SEL for Prevention

Every step of SEL for Prevention’s Social-Emotional Learning curricula works toward improved mental health. How? By increasing a multitude of generic protective factors in children.

Building these protective factors in children helps them become resilient and less likely to develop problem behaviors, even with risk factors present.

Protective/Risk factors

Protective factors and risk factors can be separated into three distinct categories:

  1. Individual factors (one’s temperament and social-emotional skills)
  2. Interactions with the environment (connectedness with peers, family, and the community)
  3. Broader environment factors (one’s socioeconomic status and the connection between one’s home and school)

Children who participate in SEL for Prevention programs gain protective factors from the three categories listed above; strengthening such protective factors brings about positive outcomes.

In other words, protective factors help buffer children from harm, thus making them less likely to participate in negative problem behaviors. As a child’s unique set of protective factors increase, the risk factors that lead to self-destructive or aggressive behaviors decrease.

Here’s the most surprising part. The benefits of our program are achieved through 8 simple steps.

To learn more about the 8 steps to positive mental health in children and adolescents, schedule your free consultation today.