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Right Tree's position on the use of social media holds that the negative effects far outweigh any positive benefit in the lives of teens, particularly for girls.  While promising connection and support, social media is instead creating loneliness, overwhelming their ability to live in a relational world, robbing them of their identity, their confidence, their mental health, their relationships and their sexuality.  The potential for irreversible harm should give every parent pause when considering if, and when, to introduce their children to social media.

Studies overwhelmingly document social media’s role in causing dissatisfaction with reality, body dysmorphia, fear, social anxiety, depression, a lack of empathy, security and critical thinking.  It minimizes opportunity for the development of healthy person-to-person social skills, reduces sensitivity to violence, creates sexual confusion, invites teens into a world of general chaos and exposes them to adult subjects, experiences and dangers when they are far too young.  With constant stimulation, boredom, the birthplace of creativity and imagination, is no longer a part of their lives.  

 

We strongly advocate for a complete ban on social media for children under the age of 16.  Social media was created for adults and it was created to be addictive.  Its algorithms were written specially to trigger dopamine receptors, maximize screen time and collect data from every keystroke for profit.  Every interaction, from clicks to likes to follows, contribute to shaping the algorithms that influence a teen's perception of truth and reality in the offline world.  It is an ongoing profit-driven marketplace experiment being tested on our children.  Nowhere else in society do we advise someone to treat an addiction by, "just doing less of it."

 

At a time in their lives when young girls are discovering who they are, they do not need more bodies to compare to theirs, more “perfect” lives to wish they were living, or more voices to bully, judge, berate or tempt them.  No teen’s life is improved by social media.

 

We call on parents to make the hard choice to say no to social media before age 16 and to lead by example by modeling healthy relationships with technology and prioritizing sacred family time.  The argument of being “left out,” without social media holds no weight as parents are often called to make decisions that disappoint their children in order to protect them from a greater danger.  A parent's need for constant contact and location monitoring can be accomplished without social media.  Even in the lives of adults, social media should be approached with consciousness, used for authentic expression and mindful education. Similar to consuming candy, it's essential to be aware and avoid overindulgence, as excessive use can decay our minds, our relationships, our presence in each moment, and our connection with the world around us.

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