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When the Prescription for Teens Is More Social Media, not Less Treatments for children with anxiety and depression increasingly push them to navigate Instagram, Snapchat to build relationships with peers

October 28, 2019

Psychologists have a new directive for anxious teens: Post selfies on Instagram and Snapchat.

During a week-long boot camp for teens with social anxiety at the Child Mind Institute in New York over the summer, psychologist Amanda Mintzer worked with patients on texting: Anxious children can find it difficult to initiate texts or speak up in group texts. “They are typically falling into thinking traps, or worst-case scenarios, ‘they are going to think I’m weird or this is going to sound really pushy,’ ” says Dr. Mintzer. “We’ll divide the children into different rooms and have them text each other and practice having a conversation,” she says. Eventually she’ll have them text their real-life friends. Dr. Mintzer also created a private Instagram group for the program and required patients to post selfies and leave comments on others’ posts.