So I’ve decided to share a bit of a personal story in hopes to perhaps help those parents out there that feel alone in this struggle. My beautiful 15 year old daughter has been struggling with depression. For those of us that don’t fully understand depression it can be a difficult concept to grasp. While I’m all too familiar with this horrible mental issue, being married to a man diagnosed with severe depression and PTSD, I’ve been pretty good at picking up on the signs. I have also realized that there seems to be an increase in teens and depression these days and I honestly blame most of that on the internet. Social media has become a new way of life. Heck, I check my FB, Insta and Twitter multiple times a day and if you aren’t mature enough to understand that as great as these websites are they can be just as detrimental to your life if used too much and as a way of comparison to your life and others. Most people only post their best photos (filters included) and only post about the positives they have going on in life. I mean….who wants to follow a negative Nancy that just brings you down. But teens need limits put in place by their parents. There are a ton of mean keyboard warriors out there that jump at the chance to put someone down and it is my job as a parent to be as involved in my kids digital life just as much as I am in her everyday life. Having set limits and restricting use of certain sites (such as Snapchat) I can be sure that my daughter is as protected as possible. Of course I can’t always catch everything but when I do see something that I know has had a negative impact I make sure to sit down with her and we talk about it. She knows she will receive no judgement from me. She seems happier now that she isn’t on her device constantly and that makes my heart happy. I also understand that she has developed friendships with her “internet” friends but together we do our research and make sure the person she’s talking to is the person they say. I read through her chats and discussions as well. She likes to say that it’s her privacy but I have to remind her…its the internet. Nothing is private and almost everything is fake. The Instagram models alone can make anyone feel bad about themselves, especially young teenage girls. My hope is that all parents monitor their childrens internet use and always listen and pay attention to your kids words and actions. Sometimes they say a lot without having said anything at all.