Do you have a story about how your child, grandchild or relative has been adversely impacted by social media or media in general? The depiction of girls and young women as tall, thin, and sexually available has been slowly invading our living rooms since the 1940’s. However, much like carbon monoxide, it has seeped so quietly and slowly, we never noticed — until it was too late.
As the parents of two beautiful daughters and grandparents of five wonderful grandkids, this has been a concern for us. We have dedicated the last part of our careers to make a difference in the lives of these families that are often suffering in the quiet of their homes. Please understand — you are NOT alone.
We have spoken to well over 300,000 children, parents, mental healthcare professionals and law enforcement officers over the past 8 years. We wrote a book last year titled SOCIAL MEDIA: YOUR CHILD’S DIGITAL TATTOO to help all adults understand what we gain and what we give up when we provide such technology to our kids.
In a our recent national survey of 200 young women, we discovered some astonishing statistics:
- 62% said they spend more than 4 hours per day on social media
- 71% said they often/sometimes feel bad about their body or life when comparing themselves to others on social media
- 44% had sent naked or topless photos to boyfriends
- 68% had been asked by boys to send naked photos
- 60% of girls were sent unsolicited naked photos of boys
Keep in mind, this was only a snapshot of our society. I would not consider this survey to be fully scientific. Moreover, most of the respondents were between 18-24 years of age. However, it certainly illustrates how this is clearly a different time for young adults.
We will have another survey for children 13-18 over the next few months.
WHY ARE WE SO PASSIONATE?
Between 2011 and 2015, Children’s Hospital in Cincinnati saw a 70% increase in families seeking treatment for their children suffering from mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Does social media play a role in this growth? What role does advertising and marketing play? Through your stories and our research, our intent is to unravel this complicated tangle of “stressors” that might be at the heart of the matter.
Again, we are using the anonymous responses from this survey to collect stories from parents, guardians, teachers and counselors on how social media has impacted them, their children or students.
By sharing your story, you will help us better understand the issues that families and educators must contend with due to our media driven, highly sexualized culture and our social media driven youth.
Thanks for your kind consideration.
Steve & Mary Beth Smith
A Wired Family, LLC