Nina, TIME Magazine
The digital landscape has put increased pressure on teenagers today, and we feel it. There are so many social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, you name it. Following is a true story of a teenager, Nina Langton who was very active on instagram which caused ‘Depression’ and she made an attempt to Suicide.
Nina Langton had a great group of friends, lived in a prosperous neighborhood, and was close with her parents. Like most 16-year-olds at her Connecticut high school, Nina spent much of her free time on her smartphone. But unlike many of her classmates, she was never “targeted” on social media—her word for the bullying and criticism that took place daily on sites like Snapchat. “Part of what made my depression so difficult was that I didn’t understand why I was feeling so sad,” she says.
Later, after her attempted suicide and during her stay at a rehabilitation facility, Nina and her therapist identified body image insecurity as the foundation of her woe. “I was spending a lot of time stalking models on Instagram, and I worried a lot about how I looked,” says Nina, who is now 17. She’d stay up late in her bedroom, looking at social media on her phone, and poor sleep—coupled with an eating disorder—gradually snowballed until suicide felt like her only option. “I didn’t totally want to be gone,” she says. “I just wanted help and didn’t know how else to get it.”
Nina’s mom, Christine Langton, has a degree in public health and works at a children’s hospital. Despite her professional background, she says she was “completely caught off guard” by her daughter’s suicide attempt. “Nina was funny, athletic, smart, personable . . . depression was just not on my radar,” she says.
In hindsight, Langton says she wishes she had done more to moderate her daughter’s smartphone use. “It didn’t occur to me not to let her have the phone in her room at night,” she says. “I just wasn’t thinking about the impact of the phone on her self-esteem or self-image until after everything happened.”
It seems like every generation of parents has a collective freak-out when it comes to kids and new technologies; television and video games each inspired widespread hand-wringing among grown-ups. But the inescapability of today’s mobile devices—coupled with the personal allure of social media—seems to separate smartphones from older screen-based media. Parents, teens and researchers agree smartphones are having a profound impact on the way adolescents today communicate with one another and spend their free time. And while some experts say it’s too soon to ring alarm bells about smartphones, others argue we understand enough about young people’s emotional and developmental vulnerabilities to recommend restricting kids’ escalating phone habit.
A few months after her suicide attempt, Nina Langton addressed her high school classmates and spoke openly about her depression. She described the stigma of mental illness, and lamented the fact that, while many teens experience depression, very few are willing to talk about it or ask for help. “I was worried for so long about opening up about my struggles because I thought I would be judged,” she said.
After she gave the speech, “so many people my age reached out to me about their own experiences with technology and depression and therapy,” she says. “I think this is a big problem that needs to be talked about more.”
MediaBites Editorial – Courtesy: Markham Heid
Pakistan First Media And Brand Website.
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