Rhyme And Reason

Youth Exhibitionism Could Signal Psychological Disorders

Rhyme and Reason

Parents are being warned of an ugly trend attaching itself to America’s youth. You’ll want to learn more.

Social media exhibitionism: Suggestive messages and graphic personal pictures provide an overwhelming temptation for youth to become a “star” for a moment while the “topic of peer chatter.”

It’s such a severe problem that one psychiatrist calls it an “epidemic” and identifies it on some levels as becoming a “psychological disorder.” Of course, drugs and alcohol are also generally linked to the behavior that has flooded the nation.

Psychiatrist Keith Ablow of Fox News says if kids distribute improper pics through their social media, parents should confiscate their phones and “shut down their Twitter and Facebook accounts and test them randomly for drugs and alcohol.” Further, if kids fail drug/alcohol tests, they should be “grounded for a month.” And, folks, he goes so far as to say “every one of the teenagers directly involved should be in psychotherapy.” See http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2014/03/22/pull-plug-on-naked-twitter-teens/?intcmp=features.

We know the Latter-day Saint community struggles mightily to shun social ills, but still, they infect us. With all we can do using faith and healthy living practices, we can still find ourselves facing the unthinkable. It’s there, in that difficult place, we inventory our options.

Ablow’s recommended courage most likely provokes a parental gasp. Many will brush off the doctor’s stern approach, but they are those who do not recognize the deep, psychological harm certain social addictions create.

Ablow talks about “ego” satiation. He explains how “inappropriate exhibitionism has become the ready antidote to feelings of depression and boredom.” Re-read that line.

Ablow tops off his warning with this: “We are in the middle of a worsening epidemic of psychological illness—with elements of narcissism, substance abuse and disinhibition—fueled by the likes of Twitter and Facebook.”

He warns our children are at risk. “The epidemic is real.”

The home remains the last and the first when it comes to giving kids a chance in regards to character development and protection from exploitation. But, even then, even with inspired programs and materials for our constant use, LDS families can struggle with social disorders.

The good doctor’s prescription offers parents a starting place, with prayers, spiritual promptings and consultation with spiritual leaders the final guide. But, it’s clear, without determination, hard-line discipline will go soft.  What won’t work is a shrug and a blink.  Our kids need our wisdom and parents who hold the line.

(Turley-Hansen is an AZ syndicated columnist and former Phx TV anchor; turleyhansen@gmail.com)