CINCINNATI — Kentucky's Daniel Cameron is one of several state attorneys general launching an investigation into the popular social media app TikTok.
The investigation, announced Wednesday, will look into the toll TikTok takes on the mental health of young people and how the app is keeping young users engaged. The announcement sparked conversations among Tri-State parents who remain cautious as they navigate social media with their young children.
“I don’t claim to be a perfect parent at all,” said Amber Ny, a mother of three.
Ny is a stay-at-home mother and content creator on TikTok and Instagram. She said she posts her realistic perspective on positive body image.
“I talk a lot about joyful movement and being OK in the body that you are in,” Ny said.
And when it comes to navigating the app with her 12-year-old, Ny said she keeps an open dialogue about what her daughter is consuming.
“I don’t try to like restrict things because I was a child who was really kind of restricted and I rebelled because of it,” Ny said. “So my approach now is to have open conversations and letting my daughters know they can talk to me about anything.”
Serena Heine said up until recently she had banned social media platforms from her home.
“This is just something I have to accept, it's part of the age we live in," the mother of six said. "This is how people communicate these days. I’m not as strict as I used to be. I'm letting them learn for themselves, but I’m also letting them be aware of the risks and to be very cautious with talking to people that they don’t know.”
How parents should navigate social media is a big conversation at Holistic Healing and Therapy. Therapists there say they see teenagers who are dealing with anxiety and depression because of their interaction with social media apps.
“Your main job as a teen is to figure out ‘who do I want to be when I grow up,’ and it’s really had to figure out who I want to be when social media is telling me who I should be,” said therapist Ashlie Cox.
Cox said it's not just teens. Adults are struggling to cope with comparison and self-esteem issues.
“The comparison aspect, a lot of this stuff later in life turns into some ideas of shame and that feeling of ‘I’m not good enough’ or ‘I’m unlovable,’” Cox said. “As small as it seems now, it can end up being really impactful in the future.”
Cox believes parents should consider the maturity level of their children when thinking about giving them access to social media platforms. She also said having an open line of communication will give them an outlet to express what they are feeling.
The creators of TikTok said new safety and privacy measures have been added to the app aimed at protecting teenage users.
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