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Pediatricians see increase in mental health issues linked to cyber bullying

WSBT 22

Local pediatricians are reporting a disturbing trend among kids and teens in our area.

Now, more than ever, they're seeing kids coming to them with symptoms related to bullying.

Doctors say the increase in bullying is directly correlated to social media. Social media is acting as a catalyst for bullying.

If you're being bullied at school, you can no longer go home and get away because it's always on that screen.

Pediatricians say they're seeing more clinical depression and other mental health issues than ever before.

As a parent what can you be doing right now? Experts say to make a family plan with set rules.

These rules shouldn't be punitive or be there to punish anyone but be similar to rules applicable to daily routines like eating or sleeping.

It's also recommended to get involved with your kids on social media like Facebook, SnapChat, and Twitter.

Having an open and trusting relationship with your child is also recommended so if they are getting bullied they will feel comfortable enough to tell you.

Doctors also recommend setting a limit on screen time to about two hours a day.

According to the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act children should not be engaging in social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and SnapChat till after age 13.

"I've seen an increase and I've spoken to my colleagues who been doing this for 20, 30, 40 years-- it's incredible the difference that we see now. It used to be kids coming in with bloody noses and measles and your infections and now we have kids coming in who are suicidal because the picture that they took for their boyfriend with no clothes on their cousin decided to send it out to the whole school either dealing with the ramifications of that,” said Dr. Christine Ramirez with South Bend Clinic.

If your child is being bullied, doctors recommend assessing the situation and getting as much information as possible. Keep any emails, texts, or pictures to have them on record.

Plan to speak with the school’s administrations and if necessary get the police involved.

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