This Week in the 904: Children’s mental health concerns and social media

Kids and teens who spend more than three hours a day on social media face double the risk for mental health problems including depression and anxiety. What’s more concerning is that the average time is more than three hours. So now Florida lawmakers are looking to ban kids under 16 from having social media accounts. Action News Jax John Bachman asked the CEO of a long-time local child mental health organization what parents need to do.


The Florida House passed a bill that would ban social media accounts for kids younger than 16. Lesley Wells runs Daniel, an organization that’s been helping Jacksonville children for 140 years.

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“A lot of the children that Daniel’s treating, are coming in with those exact same, you know, mental health concerns and issues of inadequate not belonging, not fitting in not looking like the image they saw on Instagram, trying to change their body appearance at a young age, self-injuring behavior, a lot of dares on social media, a lot of cyber bullying,”

Related Story: Florida House passes a bill to ban social media accounts for children under 16

Wells added, “So it’s a very real challenge. And it’s really, it is affecting children’s mental health and mental well-being and the addictive nature of it on their phones constantly.”

Wells talked to Action News Jax John Bachman about the pros and cons of banning social media on the latest episode of This Week in the 904.

Related Story: ‘They grow up knowing too much:’ New bill will prohibit minors from creating social media accounts

Bachman asked, “What can parents do? What should parents be doing? Regardless of whether this bill becomes law or not?”

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Wells answered, “So, making sure parents are still are educated on what are the social, social media areas, and then also starting with children at a young age, showing them what’s inappropriate, showing them? What’s a real image? What’s an artificial, intelligent image?”

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