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Study links social media to anxiety risks in teens

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Researchers say social media is just one factor that can really play into our mental hälsaA recent study published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry found that’s especially true for teenagers, specifically when it comes to anxiety.

High school senior Jack Michie säger he believes his social media addiction caused serious issues with his health.

“I was 10 years old, in fourth or fifth grade, when I first got on Instagram,” Michie said.

Michie’s social media accounts ballooned from there.

He said by the time he started high school, he was on Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat, too.

“I wanted to be seen as happy, as popular,” Michie sa. “I was tracking how many likes I was getting, who unfollowed me. When I was caring about all of these superficial things, I considered that an addiction.”

Michie said that addiction eventually led to an eating disorder.

“I had this idea in my head of what this perfect body looked like, and I wanted to achieve that. I trace it back to social media,” he said.

Is your child spending too much time on social media? Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Is social media or your child’s phone the only thing that puts them in a good mood?
  • Do they get upset if you take it away?
  • Are they hiding it or using secret passwords?
  • Do they prefer being online more than spending time face-to-face with family or friends?
  • Can your child name three things they enjoy more than social media?

If you answered yes, professionals say it may be time to enforce stricter limits.

There are resources available to help.

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TikTok hit by US lawsuits over child safety, security fears

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A man poses at the TikTok booth at the international media centre during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Bangkok on November 18, 2022

A man poses at the TikTok booth at the international media centre during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Bangkok on November 18, 2022 – Copyright GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File Theo Wargo, JOEL SAGET

TikTok was hit Wednesday with a pair of lawsuits from the US state of Indiana, which accused it of making false claims about the Chinese-owned app’s safety for children.

The legal salvo came as problems are mounting for TikTok in the United States, with multiple accusations that the extremely popular app is a national security threat and a conduit for spying by China.

“The TikTok app is a malicious and menacing threat unleashed on unsuspecting Indiana consumers by a Chinese company that knows full well the harms it inflicts on users,” said Attorney General Todd Rokita in a statement.

The lawsuit said TikTok algorithms served up “abundant content depicting alcohol, tobacco, and drugs; sexual content, nudity, and suggestive themes” to users as young as 13.

The state also sued TikTok for allegedly deceiving customers into believing that “reams of highly sensitive data and personal information” were protected from the Chinese government.

In a statement, a TikTok spokesperson did not comment specifically on the case but said “the safety, privacy and security of our community is our top priority.”

“We build youth well-being into our policies, limit features by age, empower parents with tools and resources, and continue to invest in new ways to enjoy content based on age-appropriateness or family comfort,” the company said.

TikTok is facing a growing front of opposition in the United States, with several states and the US military banning its use on government devices.

Texas on Wednesday became the latest state to do so, calling for “aggressive action” against TikTok.

The highly popular app is often singled out for its alleged connections to the Beijing government with fears that China is able to use TikTok’s data to track and coerce users around the world.

TikTok is currently in negotiations with the US government to resolve national security concerns, hoping to maintain operations in one of its biggest markets.

TikTok said it was “confident that we’re on a path…to fully satisfy all reasonable US national security concerns.”

The spectacular success of TikTok has seen rival sites such as Meta-owned Instagram or Snapchat struggle to keep up, with once soaring ad revenues taking a hit.

But Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray told lawmakers last month that he is “extremely concerned” about security risks linked to TikTok.

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