LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Social media is only an arm’s reach away, with pictures and videos of how to improve your appearance, weight, style, and more.
Hanna Olivas is a parent of five kids, ages ranging from 11 to 31 years old. She saw the influential impact of social media even more during the pandemic.
“I think it definitely affected kids because they lost that personal touch, seeing people on a day-to-day basis and there are so many stigmas going around and how we should look, how we should feel, social media is to blame because there are so many things on there saying you should try this,” Olivas said.
Mendi Baron is a licensed psychotherapist and CEO of Moriah Behavioral Health and focuses on teen mental health treatment.
“Body positivity is about accepting yourself for where you are, understanding where you want to go, maintaining good eating habits, maintaining a love for yourself, and recognizing that bodies are beautiful in all sizes,” Baron said.
He’s seen an uptick in anxiety and depression among teens.
“Teenagers lost years of socialization, and a lot of issues come up surrounding body image,” Baron added. “In Nevada, in our eating disorder program over the past 45 days, we have more requests for boys than for girls and statistically speaking that is the case. Eating disorders tend to become a huge prevalent issue in Nevada but Nevada does not yet have a licensed type for eating disorders. They don’t have one. That’s how behind the state is in their care. There is not a license currently for the treatment of eating disorders in the state of Nevada.”
Baron said being proactive and having these conversations starts at home.
“Dealing with teens is a twofold approach. Parents and kids. It takes both and for the parent’s side, it takes a village. Parents should not try to operate alone, know you can get help and know there are resources, know that it’s okay that you can’t handle everything alone, it’s not a guilt thing or anything to feel bad about, and tap into as many resources as you can to get support for your teen,” Baron said.
That’s why Olivas said her family tries to have boundaries when it comes to snacking and screen time so they can get outdoors.
“There is an understanding that we can teach them the importance of being healthy and not just the beauty or the aesthetic because if it’s not internal then they’re struggling,” Olivas added. “They see all these things from kids, tv, and social and they’re like but I don’t look like that, or I don’t sound like that and then it becomes this burden and pressure they put on themselves and that’s not okay. Have those positive talks with our kids and our family for whoever is in the household. We have a lot of family dynamics here and we have to uplift one another. “