Bristol Mother Reveals How Daughter’s Mental Health Declined Due to Social Media, Leading to Smartphone Abandonment

Bristol Mother Reveals How Daughter’s Mental Health Declined Due to Social Media, Leading to Smartphone Abandonment

Mother Narrates Harrowing Impact of Social Media on Daughter’s Mental Health

Lucy Smith, a 52-year-old mother from Bristol, shares her daughter’s distressing journey battling depression and restrictive eating, revealing how the online world, including social media, played a significant role in her decline.

Early Exposure to the Online World: Freya’s Innocent Start on YouTube

At eight years old, Freya, not her real name, received a mobile phone from her parents, sparking an innocent journey into the world of YouTube.

Creating content about dolls and nurseries, she garnered thousands of followers. However, as she stopped making videos at 11, signs of mental health challenges began to surface.

Diagnosis and Mental Health Struggles: Coping with Autism and Depression

Freya’s autism diagnosis at 11 coincided with a period of significant mental health challenges, leading to depressive thoughts and struggles to cope with life.

Lucy, Freya’s mother, describes the distressing time as her sole purpose became keeping her daughter alive.

Online Content’s Impact on Mental Health: The Dark Side of Social Media

Despite stopping YouTube, Freya continued engaging with online content, contributing to her declining mental health.

Social media algorithms, according to Lucy, pushed her into a darker space.

Restrictive eating, excessive exercise, and incessant scrolling fueled her depression.

Drastic Measure: From Smartphone to ‘Nokia Brick’

By the age of 15, Freya made a drastic decision to abandon her smartphone, asking her mother to replace it with a simple Nokia.

This shift marked a turning point in Freya’s self-awareness and revealed activities she enjoyed, such as crafting and journaling.

Revelation After Smartphone Detox: Rediscovering Self and Hobbies

Lucy emphasizes Freya’s newfound self-awareness and maturity without social media, allowing her to delve into activities she had overlooked while caught in the online cycle.

Educational Initiatives: Lucy’s Advocacy Against Harmful Online Exposure

Working for Digital Safety Community Interest Company and running Inclusive Change, Lucy advocates for awareness on how neurodiversity, mental health, and online exposure intersect.

She stresses the need to support parents and young people in making informed choices about smartphone use.

Online Safety Legislation: The Impact of the Online Safety Act

The Online Safety Bill, now law, puts legal responsibility on tech companies to prevent illegal content and protect children from harmful material.

Lucy supports the law but emphasizes the importance of educating individuals to make responsible choices in navigating the online world.

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