Navigating screen use and social media for youth can feel overwhelming. A top priority for parents is safety, but the online world often feels full of unknowns. In response to last week’s news from the Surgeon General, our Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer, Claudia Welke, MD, was invited to speak with Lauren Petty of NBC Chicago about treating screen dependency, along with anxiety and depression among young people.

The interview with NBC Chicago aired on Monday, July 1, 2024, as part of their Mental Health Monday focus. Keep reading for an excerpt originally published by NBC Chicago and for a link to the full article.

NBC News Chicago: "Compass Health Center provides behavioral health care for one thousand patients a day who are in crisis. 'The rate of depression, anxiety and suicide has really skyrocketed in the last 20 years,' said Dr. Claudia Welke, a psychiatrist and the Chief Medical Officer at Compass Health Center.

While it’s not clear to what extent, Welke said it’s clear what kids are viewing online plays a role.

'Research is now pointing to the fact that social media, and that kids that use social media for three hours a day, really are having more mental health issues,' she said.

Welke shared six tips parents should consider when it comes to navigating social media:

  1. Take a look at your own usage – “Make sure that you're modeling healthy behaviors when it comes to social media usage,” Welke said.
  2. Delay access to social media for as long as possible – "The Surgeon General calls for waiting until high school. That might not be practical for all families. But it's something, you know, I think it's just a good rule of thumb to wait as long as possible,” said Welke.
  3. Establish boundaries – For kids and teens already on social media, cutting them off may not work, but experts say you should establish boundaries and guidelines.
  4. Make sleep a priority – It may seem unrelated, but sleep is essential. So keeping cell phones, tablets and even computers out of bedrooms at bedtime is key. “We know that kids need eight to nine hours of sleep for healthy brain development. And so doing everything we can to sort of limit on social media use around bedtime is really important,” Welke said.
  5. Establish tech-free times – Especially at bed time, during meals and during homework, experts recommend you keep devices out of kids hands.
  6. Talk to your kids about why the rules and risks associated with social media."

Read the full article here 

Learn more about screen dependency treatment and how we can help here.


About Compass Health Center:

Compass Health Center provides immediate access to comprehensive, specialized mental health services, empowering individuals and families to receive the care they need when they need it. Children, adolescents, young adults, and adults are able to schedule a mental health assessment within 24 hours after the first phone call and begin treatment as soon as the next day. Our age-based approach to mental health treatment centers on three core principles: immediate access, comprehensive care, and specialization in areas such as trauma, OCD, school refusal, anxiety, depression, and co-occurring substance use and mental health.


Brittney Teasdale

Associate Director of Brand Management