Should the Parent Who Has Strict Rules about Social Media Get

Arizona law, found in ARS 25-403, lists the important factors that the court
is required to consider when determining legal decision-making and
parenting time. None of those factors deal with social media, which has
become such an important factor in many children’s lives. Yet in my practice
it regularly comes up. One parent or the other complains that the other
parent has no rules about social media and that the children spend hours
alone isolated on their iPhones or tablets to their detriment.

A study published on 9/11/19 in the JAMA Psychiatry and summarized in the
MIT Technology Review came to conclusions what many parents have suspected or
are aware of anyway. Over 6000 children between the ages of 12 and 15
were surveyed as to how much time they spent on social media and whether
they suffered from any mental health problems. Not surprisingly,
researchers found that children that spend 3 hours or more on social media
are more likely to have significant emotional issues. The emotional issues
came out in 2 different ways, one internal and one external. Internally, the
children reported that they had depression and anxiety; externally the
children reported an increase in aggressive behavior and antisocial behavior.
Children who reported no or minimal social media time
reported virtually no depression, anxiety, aggressive behavior or antisocial

Kira Riehm, a PhD student at John Hopkins who was the lead author of the
study, said there was no magic formula that tells us how much time children
should be spending on social media. More study needs to be done to
determine that, she said. Riehm advised that the broader point of the study
should be listened to by parents, namely that social media should be used in

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