Mental Health Awareness: Teens and Social Media

A recent study of Australian teenagers showed that the heaviest social media users experience the greatest amount of anxiety related to FOMO (fear of missing out). A University of Michigan study also found that the more college students used Facebook, the worse they felt, reflecting a similar association found among high school age students in the U.S. Young people themselves are quick to defend their socially networked lives. The majority of teenagers report that social media helps them feel more connected to their friends and provides critical support during difficult times. Yet, at the same time, one out of five teens disclose feeling worse about their own life because of what they see on social media.

Not all teens respond in the same way to social networking and not all teens use the same tools and sites. Facebook is the focus of most current research, yet many teens are quickly adopting new platforms. The best thing we can do as parents is to observe, stay connected, and ask questions. Some teens may be feeling sad and turn to the internet for much-needed support. Others may find that the internet increases feelings of sadness or loneliness. Some may feel creative and inspired while others become angry and irritable. These signs are more important than any study. Be in conversation with young people about their socially networked life. Ask them,

  • Why do you use social media?
  • How does it make you feel?
  • Who do you hang out with?
  • What do you like best?
  • What isn't so great?

Other suggestions include:

  1. Carving out screen-free time. It is more and more difficult to manage screen time by counting minutes. Instead, focus on carving out consistent times to connect without screens. Consider mealtimes, before breakfast, during homework or during car rides.
  2. At bedtime, “lights off” includes “screens off”. Sleep deprivation has a clear and detrimental impact on young people's mental health. Make sure that teens unplug before bed and stay off all night.

Australian Psychological Society. (2015). Stress and Well Being. Psychology Week (8-14) November. 
Kross E, Verduyn P, Demiralp E, Park J, Lee DS, Lin N, et al. (2013) Facebook Use Predicts Declines in Subjective Well-Being in Young Adults. PLoS ONE 8(8): e69841. 
Moira, B., Cameron M., and Thomas, L. (2010) Social network activity and social well-being. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. ACM, New York, NY, USA, 1909-1912.

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Infection Control in the Clinic

Our CF Center prides itself in following the guidelines for infection control. Our goal is protecting your child’s health. Below are some of the ways we are keeping your child guarded from potential contact of organisms.
  • All Cystic Fibrosis patients are placed under “Enhanced precautions,” particularly when admitted to the hospital. This indicates all visitors and staff must wear an isolation (yellow) gown and gloves.
  • A surgical mask should be worn by the patient while in the hospital or Outpatient Care Center until the patient is in their own hospital or clinic room.
  • Hand sanitizer or antimicrobial soap and water should be readily available for the patient and staff.
  • In the ER setting, cystic fibrosis children should be placed in a room promptly and placed under enhanced precautions.
  • When leaving their hospital room for procedures or activities, all CF patients will be escorted by hospital staff. This is when a child is hospitalized.
  • Only 1 CF patient can attend child life activities at a time while hospitalized.
  •  Allow 30 minutes time to pass before another CF patient can enter the same room (clear the air).  Wipe down of the area does occur between patient use.  This is completed by using approved hospital grade anti-viral and antibacterial cleaning products.
  • Keep waiting areas and public space (check in/check out) clear and place children in rooms immediately.
  • Pulmonary function testing equipment is disposable and patient individual. The computers for testing are cleaned and rotated with use between patients by using the above listed cleaning standards and precautions.

Get Active During the Summer

Physical activity is important year round to improve your health and happiness! According to, children require at least 60 minutes a day of physical activity. This doesn’t mean that you have to block 60 minutes out of each day for exercise, but rather split it up to get activity throughout the day. Exercise in the summer, especially if it is outdoors, is better to do in short bursts so there is time to rest and cool off.

Outdoor exercise and games are best done in the morning when it is a little cooler. Exercise can vary from playing games, tumbling, climbing, swimming, or running. If you get slightly out of breath while you’re doing it, then you are on the right track. It is always a good idea to perform your airway clearance before and after you are exercising. This helps you breathe better before you exercise and then helps to clear more from your lungs after your exercise.

One of the best summer activities is swimming or playing in the pool or the ocean. This isn’t limited to swimming, but rather jumping, working on holding your breath, and any exercises you can do only land including squats, lunges, jumping, and twisting. Exercise in the pool is often easier on the joints and is a great option for you to still get exercise even if you have pain in your ankles, knees, hips, or back.

Remember, if you have pain, questions about your activity, or questions about your airway clearance, your physical therapist is available for questions during your routine CF clinic visits.

During the summer, you will need extra hydration so drink plenty of drinks like Gatorade or Powerade and lots of water. Limit sodas as those are dehydrating.