Technology and Mental Health

Teens, Technology and Mental Health

I bet you’ve seen a lot in the news lately about the impact of technology on the mental health of teens.  If so, like so many of you I’m trying to make sense of it all. Several articles referenced generational research by  Jean Twenge. Who in 2011-12 saw something shocking in her research that “scared her to the core.” More than 50% of teens had iphones, therefore creating the iGen. The iGen, born between 1995 and 2012, have never known life without smartphones!

One article, included alarming statistics on technology:

  • 1 in 5 children has a mental health condition
  • 43% increase in ADHD
  • 37% increase in clinical level depression in teens
  • And even more alarming a 200% increase in suicide rate in kids 10-14 years old

Additionally, for at-risk teens technology can be linked to problems with attention, behavior and self-regulation, according to a 2017 Duke study.

Some say, this generation is on the brink of the worst mental health crisis in decades!!!

However, it’s not all so bleak. The positive impact of technology for the iGen was reported in an article stating this  generation is physically safer, they drink less, drive later, and are waiting longer to have physical relationships with significant others.

For adolescents, 11-15 of lower economic status, a study found technology also had a positive impact. For example on days when teens spent more time using technology they were less likely to report symptoms of anxiety and depression. Possibly meaning, the short term impact of technology is beneficial, but not long term. In this study, teens spent approximately 2.3 hours a day using technology and sent 41 texts a day on average.

What can we do about it, a few tips:

  • For parents hold off as long as possible getting your child a smartphone.
  • If your kids need a phone to call for rides, emergencies, etc…get them a basic phone.
  • Set ground rules and monitor usage (no technology while eating dinner, etc.)
  • If all else fails, there are apps to control the amount of time and restrict viewing.

What else?

  • Model appropriate use of technology (I know it’s tough, I can’t put down my ipad!)
  • Limit your technology distractions while your kids are home.
  • Talk to your kids and encourage they to come to you if something is wrong, say it daily!


I know it seems overwhelming and scary, but you are not alone and we can help! 


By: Allison West Kaskey  M.Ed., Eds., LPCC-S

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Introducing Your Child to the Idea of Therapy

Tips to help your child get used to the idea of going to therapy


1.) Do not lie to your child, regardless of their age

They need accurate, age appropriate information about what to expect at their first appointment. Providing them with facts they can understand not only helps decrease their anxiety, it helps lay healthy groundwork for a positive experience in therapy. Telling them their therapist’s name, office location, or even showing them a picture of their therapist are all helpful ideas.

2.) Give them some say in the matter

When kids feel like they have choices, it helps them feel more confident about new situations. Younger kids might like to pick what outfit they will wear to their first session, or select a special toy to bring. Older kids might have a day of the week they prefer, or may even have preferences about whether they see a male or female therapist.

3.) Let them express their thoughts and feelings

They might cry and tell you they don’t want to go. That’s ok-therapy can be overwhelming for adults at first thought too. Children respond well to stories and characters they can identify with personally. Reading some books together about beginning therapy also might help ease the transition. The following are available on Amazon:

4.) Encourage them to ask questions

It’s ok if you don’t have all the answers! Letting them know that, together, you can ask the therapist all sorts of questions when you meet will help reinforce the idea that everyone will be working together!



If your child continues to be distressed about the idea of therapy, please reach out to their therapist for more personalized ideas about how to help!


By: Torrie Giovinazzi, M.Ed., LPCC, NCC


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