“It’s important to talk about suicide and eating disorders and not remove that content,” hy het bygevoeg. Some people might think talking about suicide will make teens more inclined to try it, Ouer gesê, but that’s not always the case.
TikTok’s announcement comes in the wake of a Wall Street Journal story that alleged Facebook publicly downplayed Instagram’s effects on teens
’ mental health
, though Facebook’s own research reportedly revealed serious negative impacts
“Terwyl die (WSJ) story focuses on a limited set of findings and casts them in a negative light
, we stand by this research
,” said Karina Newton
, Instagram’s head of public policy
, in n verklaring
. “It demonstrates our commitment to understanding complex and difficult issues young people may struggle with
, and informs all the work we do to help those experiencing these issues
. The question on many people’s minds is if social media is good or bad for people
. The research on this is mixed
; it can be both.
Instagram has had tools
— such as a
” prompt that directs users to helplines and other tips
— intended to help people struggling with mental health issues for some time
, according to a company spokesperson
Pros and cons of the changes
Chicago-based psychologist John Duffy said via email that many of his young clients say they initially learn about depression, angs, attention problems and eating disorders on TikTok.
“I’ve seen some of these videos
, some by other children and others posted by professionals
, and many of them are accurate
, informative and quite helpful
,” said Duffy
, who works with teens
, ouers, couples and families and wrote
“Ouerskap van die nuwe tiener in die tyd van angs
.” “I’m glad that there is some good mental health-related information available to our young people on a platform that draws them in.
“Dit gesê, these changes are not nearly enough,” Duffy added. Kids often rely on TikTok content to diagnose and treat themselves, which can be dangerous without adult supervision. “It is crucial that TikTok makes it clear that their platform is not a substitute for direct mental health care.” At the bottom of its “Well-Being Guide,” TikTok states the guides are for informational and educational purposes only and aren’t “intended to provide mental health or medical services.”
Plus, the guides — which were created with the help of expert organizations including Crisis Text Line, the International Association for Suicide Prevention, Live for Tomorrow, Samaritans of Singapore, Samaritans (Verenigde Koninkryk) and the National Eating Disorders Association — exist in TikTok’s Safety Center. To access them, users have to go to their profile, click the menu icon in the upper right corner, then scroll down to the “Support” afdeling, where they can click “Safety Center.”
“The general thing with user experience is that everything important should be one click or less away from the user,” Ouer gesê. “Putting it multiple clicks away does form a barrier.”
TikTok already had warning labels and opt-in screens over videos with sensitive or distressing content. The company is expanding on that by applying the warnings to search results as well, for phrases such as “scary make-up.”
Offering trigger warnings is polite in certain settings, but research has shown trigger warnings can be a double-edged sword — in that people sometimes might increasingly incorporate trauma into their identity rather than viewing triggering content as something to process to become healthier, Ouer gesê.
“It ends up maybe what, in psychology, we would call a safety behavior, which sounds nice, but it’s actually unhealthy,” Ouer gesê. “It’s sort of like a person who’s afraid of spiders and you never ever show them a photo of spiders — wel, they’re never not going to be afraid of spiders.”
Advice for parents and teens
Having open communication with teens before problems arise is important, Ouer gesê. If parents suspect their teens’ social media use is harming their mental health, don’t punish them, hy het bygevoeg — in plaas daarvan, enlist a mental health professional who can mediate those conversations in ways that might better resonate with kids.
Ook, remember that problematic social media use related to issues such as body image can be more a symptom than the cause of the teen’s issue, according to Parent.
“Body image concerns existed long before social media. And we now live in an era where you can go on social media and find images of people as models who you never would have seen before,” Ouer gesê. “Voorheen, it was a bunch of White people and maybe Tyra Banks, and they were all skinny and all looked a particular way.”
Parents should familiarize themselves with social media platforms, especially the mental health-related elements, and regularly talk openly with their teens about what they’re witnessing, Duffy said.
, being aware of the deception common on social media
— such as cosmetic filters and edits
— and changing your social media consumption can help
If you live in the US and are experiencing suicidal thoughts
, you can call
1-800-273-8255 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
, which provides free and confidential support
24/7 for people in suicidal crisis or distress
. You can learn more about its services hier
, including its guide on what to do if you see suicidal language on social media
. U kan ook skakel 1-800-273-8255 om met iemand te praat oor hoe u 'n persoon in 'n krisis kan help. Vir krisisondersteuning in Spaans, bel 1-888-628-9454.
If you live outside the US
, the International Association for Suicide Prevention provides a worldwide directory of resources and international hotlines
. You can also turn to Befrienders Worldwide