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Mental Health experts share tips following Facebook Whistleblower testimony

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Posted at 10:11 PM, Oct 05, 2021

TAMPA, Fla. — With a click of a button and renewed access to Facebook Monday, so too came a collective dopamine hit for millions worldwide.

But Tuesday, according to company whistleblower France Haugen, it seems that social media's darkest side comes out while it's up and running.

"I am here today because I believe that Facebook's products harm children, stoke division, and weaken our democracy," said Haugen, "Kids are saying ‘I am unhappy when I use Instagram and I can’t stop. If I leave, I’m afraid I’ll be ostracized.”

Though it's news that doesn't come as a shock to mental health experts, like USF professor Dr. Ryan Wagoner, especially when it comes to kids.

"Not a surprise at all," he said.

Clinical psychologist Dr. Lisa Strohman says for many kids the situation has become dire.

"This is a real issue that has to do with self-harm. We're talking about eating disorders, we're talking about situations where kids aren't going to get their childhoods back," said Strohman.

So what do we do?

Well, Dr. Strohman and Dr. Wagoner say Monday's forced break isn't enough, they encourage social media time limits and say above all else protecting your kids starts with a conversation.

"They should feel comfortable talking to their parents about that. One of the problems we're seeing is that we've seen with social media is that it has become an echo chamber for completely and utterly false ideas," said Dr. Wagoner.

Dr. Strohman shared some ideas that parents can use to get those conversations started:

"How do we teach them how to use social as a tool? And how to identify being good citizens online? How do we help others if we see they're in trouble," she said.

Dr. Strohman has a list of resources parents can use on her website.

And Dr. Wagoner recommends that parents check out resources offered by the American Academy of Pediatrics.