We, The Jewels’ Angels Foundation, have spoken on the topic of social media before, but this article is from a different perspective.

We have become a society obsessed with our smartphones.  Our phones are either in our hands or nearby for an immediate response to a text message, e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat.  I am sure there are others, but as a mother without teens in the home, it is hard to keep up.  It has become our sense of security. I’ll admit, I am just as guilty as the next person, but it makes me wonder what the effects will be or have become to us.

In today’s times, we hear a lot more talk about mental health, such as, depression, anxiety, and bi-polar.  Are mental health disorders more prominent in our culture now or is it just more spoken about amongst us?  I believe the later.

We have come a long way with our understanding about mental illness and mental health, but we still have a very long way to go.  My question is, if the numbers on the cases of mental illness has not increased, but has always been relevant, then why are we seeing more suicidal deaths, especially in our teens?

Our space has become so compacted that our children and teens do not have places to run, free of harm, and explore the world through their young, innocent minds.  Now their minds are filled with technology  and a new way of expression, some of it is harmful; however,  some of it is not.  It’s a new exploration, filled with new experiences and learning new ways to cope and communicate.  It’s a growing curve, one where we as parents may feel isolated, but need to get connected at the same time, so we can better understand this new form of communication with and through our youth.  And at the same time, we must provide positive resources for them to overcome the technological changes, by providing them with parks, swings, jungle gyms, exercise yards, teen mentor programs, pets that they can learn to take care of and love, and human connections.

It makes me sad, as a mother and as a member of our community, but as parents, we have the power to monitor their time spent on their smartphones and time spent in their rooms.  We need to be providing healthy outdoor activities and family time on a regular basis.  Another issue is our schools.  Don’t take away their recess time and physical education classes.  Make this time spent in a positive and fun way so it doesn’t feel like a punishment, but a time to have fun and be free and silly and just to be a kid, while they still are kids.  They have plenty enough time to be little adults, preparing for their futures, but for now…


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