The Digital Dilemma
A recent analysis of the NHS digital data by the charity YoungMinds has seen that urgent referrals for children to emergency mental health services have tripled since 2019. With the rise in social media and technology, now more than ever, it is important to build our children’s emotional resilience. This is so they can go into the world feeling as confident in themselves as they can be. At Hug-a-Bug World we understand the importance of developing positive relationships with our emotions from a young age. This is the time when the developing brain absorbs the most information.
In 2021, CNN Health reported that 32% of parents with children under the age of 10 have said that their child uses social media on a frequent or semi-frequent basis. Social media can create unrealistic expectations and comparisons that may be difficult to understand. This is especially if you are a young child who is still coming to terms with your own sense of self. With the rise of technology being easily accessible at a younger age, it is no wonder that the number of children in treatment or waiting to start treatment with the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) is at an all time high. In May 2023 this number reached its record breaking point of 466,250 children. All desperately needing the support of CAMHS; this is an alarming number that is likely to continue to grow.
At Hug A Bug World our aim is to help you to equip your child with the skills they need to tackle the ups and downs of the modern world. A foundation for strong mental health begins in early childhood. In order to avoid feelings such as inadequacy or anxiety, talk to your child regularly about how what they see online is not always an accurate depiction of reality and try out some of these tips to reduce the negative impact of social media and keep our young ones smiling, confident and ready to take on the world!
1. Promote Healthy Role Models
The Digital Dilemma
Young children are prone to copying role models that they look up to. Therefore it is important that we surround them with role models that are going to be a benefit to their mental health. Our stories are created with a diverse group of characters that each bring a unique perspective to the team. Whilst Bella-Bee might be good at organising, she will need the help of Bhu Beetle to be strong! Whilst reading our stories, talk about which character your child looks up to the most and refer back to instances in their life when they have used the same skills that they see in the book.
2. Encourage Individuality
Social media can be a pressuring place to ‘fit in’ or conform to the status quo. Help your child to recognise the beauty in their own individuality through our bug-tivity play sheets! A fun one to get started is this ‘All About Me’ sheet that you can help your child to fill in whilst reflecting together about what makes them unique. Remind them that being unique is our special power and take time to talk about each aspect of the sheet. Consider how and why someone else’s answers might be different.
3. See our Bug-tivities for some offline fun!
Social media and other online entertainment can be addictive as it offers instant gratification and regular small spikes of dopamine levels (the happy hormone). As a result, this bottomless pit of new, colourful information can be exciting. However, be sure to counteract this instant gratification with tasks that involve a little more patience. In Cress the Caterpillar’s ‘I Can Do It!” book, he discovers that perseverance brings the best reward of it all. Focus on activities with your young child that involve patience, creativity and persistence. Check out some of our ideas on the Bug-Tivities homepage to find some fun inspiration!
We hope this information has been helpful for you. Remember that every child has their own unique set of skills and what’s important is acceptance, kindness and the strength to be ourselves! Let us know via social media if you implemented any of these ideas. And if you have any topics that you would like us to cover. We always love to hear from you!
Have a wonderful week,
The Hug A Bug Team
The Digital Dilemma