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Modern childhood: Boy dressed in blue, distracted with his smartphone on a busy street.

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STATEWIDE–Social media can have a harmful effect on your mental health if not utilized properly. Stephanie Anderson, chief operating officer at Mental Health America of Indiana, says it’s been especially bad on young kids.

“We’ve seen significant rises in youth suicide and we know this is directly correlated to online bullying on social media,” said Anderson in an interview this week with IndyPolitics.

Anderson says there’s also a lot of deception online.

“I think there’s a lot of unrealistic expectations and norms put out there through TikTokers and other social media gurus who make the world look rosy and that’s not the way the real world is. When somebody sees that and that’s not how they’re experiencing life, it can pull them into a further depressive state,” said Anderson.

Social media can also be an encouraging place, so Anderson recommends that you only search for things online that are positive, but not misleading.

“It’s important that you’re aware of what you’re looking at, what you’re kids are looking, and to make sure that you’re choosing healthy things for which to be engaged,” said Anderson.

Finally, Anderson reminds you that mental health isn’t something specific for just certain people.

“It is universal. It affects everybody. It doesn’t matter what color your skin is, where you come from, whether you live on a farm or a sky rise building, mental health affects everybody,” said Anderson.