ARIZONA NEWS

Anxiety increasing among Arizona children in the digital era

Aug 9, 2023, 4:35 AM | Updated: 6:18 am

Roughly 36% of high school students in Arizona reported their mental health “was most of the time or always not good,” according CDC research. (Stock Photo)

(Stock Photo)

PHOENIX — In a time when technology allows people to connect with others more than ever before, an increasing number of children are feeling alone.

Roughly 36% of high school students in Arizona reported their mental health “was most of the time or always not good,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s most recent “High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey,” which was conducted back in 2021. That’s about 7% more than the national average.

It’s something that Dr. Carla C. Allan, the division chief of psychology and the Hagenah Family Endowed Chair in Psychology with Phoenix Children’s said she sees in her office every day.

“We’re continuing to see increases in the frequency and intensity of anxiety that youth are experiencing,” Allan said.

What’s causing anxiety in today’s youth?

Allan told KTAR News 92.3 FM that this is due to a myriad of factors.

“Kids are feeling a great deal of uncertainty about their futures, not only in part due to all of the things they see on social media that are not real representations of life and comparing themselves to people who look perfect, and of course you feel anxious when you don’t live up to those standards that aren’t real to begin with,” Allan said.

Technology also allows kids to be well-informed, which can bring stress all by itself.

“News and climate change has sort of lent itself very well to this feeling of existential dread that adolescents are certainly verbalizing in my office each day,” Allan said.

Allan explained while online platforms allow kids to connect with others with similar beliefs, that can sometimes backfire.

“Youth are also experiencing sort of echo chambers on social media and those kinds of websites where when you’re hanging around other kids who are highly anxious, it just serves to heighten your own anxiety,” she said.

“When we get stuck in this sort of a doom loop of things related to body image, and eating disorders are increasing during this time too, and doom messages around climate, it does really create this culture of dread.”

Look for signs of anxiety

Allan said parents should watch out for signs that their children are struggling.

“You will get kids expressing worry directly. They want to know what’s coming up next. They want to talk about future things, maybe even months ahead. You’ll know they have a hard time handling flexibly changes that occur with regards to uncertainty…” she said.

Anxiety can impact sleep, so many kids may become fatigued over time, and many children may seek assurance more often.

Allan said parents can help by being role models on how to react to anxiety by providing examples of how their children can cope and helping them get involved in real experiences.

“When it comes to anxiety, there’s kind of nothing to it but to do it. We got to get out there and try things, push our comfort zone. Only through real experiences can we learn how to cope,” Allan said.

The following are examples of anxiety in children according to the CDC:

  • Separation anxiety – Being afraid when away from parents.
  • Phobias – Extreme fear about a specific thing or situation.
  • Social anxiety – Being very afraid of school and places where there are people.
  • General anxiety – Being worried about the future and about bad things happening.
  • Panic Disorder – Having repeated episodes of sudden, unexpected, intense fear that come with symptoms like heart pounding, having trouble breathing or feeling dizzy, shaky or sweaty.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to wipe out all unfunded pension debt fo...

KTAR.com

Maricopa County votes to wipe out unfunded pension debt for retiring law enforcement

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted last week to wipe out all unfunded pension debt for retiring law enforcement employees.

3 hours ago

A woman was rescued 36 hours after her car crashed about 200 feet down an embankment in Arizona. (P...

KTAR.com

Woman rescued 36 hours after car crashes 200 feet down embankment in Arizona

A woman was rescued 36 hours after her car crashed about 200 feet down an embankment in Arizona, authorities said Monday.

6 hours ago

Smoke billowed over north Phoenix after an abandoned restaurant caught fire in north Phoenix on Jun...

KTAR.com

Abandoned restaurant catches fire, billows smoke over north Phoenix

Smoke billowed over north Phoenix after an abandoned restaurant caught fire in north Phoenix on Monday afternoon, authorities said.

8 hours ago

pool party in the Valley Arizona liability homeowner...

Serena O'Sullivan

Homeowners can be held liable for drownings, injuries in their pools, Phoenix attorney says

Want to host a pool party in the Valley this summer? You can be held liable if someone injures themselves or drowns in your pool.

9 hours ago

Herman Campbell is the subject of a Silver Alert issued June 17, 2024, in Phoenix....

KTAR.com

Silver Alert issued for Phoenix man with medical condition who went missing over weekend

Authorities have issued a Silver Alert for a 65-year-old Phoenix man with a medical condition who went missing.

10 hours ago

Leaving a child in a hot car lands Mesa woman in jail, police say...

Serena O'Sullivan

Mesa woman left her child in car that measured 129 degrees, police say

Nichole Yazzie, a 32-year-old Mesa mother, was accused by authorities of leaving a child in a hot car during an excessive heat warning.

10 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinic visits boost student training & community health

Going to a Midwestern University Clinic can help make you feel good in more ways than one.

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

Anxiety increasing among Arizona children in the digital era