By Donna Shea & Nadine Briggs
I think that we all believe that in our culture, there is a definite uptick in anxiety in our children and teens. We have a pretty good pulse on what causes kids to worry. We talked about this in a previous blog back in May of this year.
Then came a surprise to me over the past week or two. Maybe it shouldn’t have been a surprise. Kids were telling me that they were searching on Google or other search engines for information that tended to make their anxiety worse. One example was a 10-year-old who was getting her flu shot and went searching for the chance of dying from getting a flu shot. There are young, I mean young, children that are looking online for symptoms of depression, information on germs (this can only feed OCD tendencies), and more. “What if” thinking can quickly turn into “what if” searching.
As an adult who struggles with anxiety myself (Donna), at its height, I was one of those medical Googlers, convincing myself that I had some horrible medical issues when, in truth, it was symptoms of anxiety. So Googling increased the fear, which then exacerbated the symptoms. A vicious cycle.
If you have a child that struggles with anxiety, especially around their health or the health of their family members, please check-in to see if they are Googling these topics. It’s so easy for kids to search online, and we know how much of it is sensationalism or false information. Access to this much information at a young age can be too much to handle for a child. With that information right at their fingertips, they could be Googling up their anxiety.