Unlike previous generations, children today are growing up with technology from their earliest years. While technology offers many benefits, there are also downsides. A recent report from Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych) highlights the potential risks and provides guidance for children and young people’s use of technology.

A terrible loss

One example of the risks of technology is Molly Russell. In November 2017, 15-year old Molly committed suicide. This tragedy was compounded by the fact that Molly’s family were unaware of her daughter’s depression and that she had been active on social media sites around self-harm.

Guidelines and recommendations

The RCPsych report provides a detailed review of the current research into the potential impacts of technology on the mental health of children and young people. It also provides guidelines and recommendations for technology use by children and young people. It is written in an engaging and easy-to-read style so even if you don’t want to dig into the details, it is well worth reading the foreword by Ian Russell, Molly’s father, as well as the general summary and guidelines.

Here are a few of the guidelines for children and young people:

  • Maintain a balance between technology use and being with people
  • Set time limits and boundaries to your technology
  • Don’t use technology as an excuse to avoid other things
  • Get enough sleep
  • Get enough exercise
  • If something you see bothers you, makes you feel sad or self-conscious, talk to someone
  • Be careful about sharing information online
  • Be carefusl about the people you meet online

 

Download the report: CR225 Technology use and the mental health of children and young people

 

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