Parent Training for Anxiety: Stop Blaming the Apps

By Greg Baer M.D.

July 11, 2023

Anxiety, Parent Training

Anxiety and the Location Apps

In a recent article published by the largest newspaper in the United States, I read about a phone app—who can keep up with them, eh?—that shows teens on a map where their friends are located in real time. Sounds fun, doesn’t it? Except that the article focuses on Addison, a 16-year-old who had just learned—from the app—that all her friends were at a party she had not been invited to. Big-time feelings of rejection 

In March 2023, Common Sense Media reported that 45% of the surveyed girls said that location sharing had a negative effect on them. The girls say that location sharing can make them self-conscious about where they live and where they go. Some fear being stalked. Yet, by far the biggest cause of anxiety, they say, is knowing when they’re missing out. 

This anxiety is part of the already-acute youth mental-health crisis, that U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has called “the defining public-health crisis of our time.” He said that social-media companies haven’t done enough to address the mental health of their youngest users. 

The Lack of Parent Training 

Really? Again? Everywhere you read about teenage mental health, the blame is assigned to social media, phone apps, schools, gun laws, and everyone except the people who RAISED these kids and failed to love and teach them: the parents 

The location app I just referred to, Snap Map, is used by 300 million people globally every month. The owners of the app deny all responsibility by saying that the app is “useful,” adding that the optional location-sharing setting is off by default and must be turned on by the user. This blames the kid, once again skipping the responsibility of the parents. 

Location sharing is part of the “narcissism of adolescence,” says Devorah Heitner, a digital-culture researcher and author of “Growing Up in Public: Coming of Age in a Digital World.” She says, “Everyone wants to feel they matter at that age.” 

And why do teens feel relatively worthless? Because they were not loved and taught by their parents. Full stop. See for how you can give your children the confidence they require to avoid the “narcissism of adolescence,” along with the accompanying anxiety, depression, and addictions 

In the newspaper article, Ellie Fenton-Sutliff, a 17-year-old from Sacramento, Calif., says thoughts can spiral quickly when something is happening without you. She took part in a recent school debate about whether social-media companies should be held accountable for teen well-being. Ellie, who leads youth engagement for #HalfTheStory, a digital well-being nonprofit, says teens feel pressure to share their location. “You feel obligated to do it even though you know it’s not good for you,” she says. 

The Critical Importance of Parent Training for Anxiety and Other Problems

And exactly where are the parents in all this? Where is the responsibility of the parents to love these kids and teach them the role of phone apps in their lives—if any role at all.

Imagine that you leave your house door open, so your dog runs out to the road and is killed by a passing car. Should you sue the car manufacturer for not putting sufficient safeguards on the car to make such a tragedy impossible? Or should you take responsibility yourself for not protecting your dog?

It’s a ridiculous question, but not more foolish than teens and parents questioning whether phone apps are responsible for the self-esteem of adolescents.  

Learn how to give your child a sense of worth. Learn how to love them and teach them responsibility around phones, apps, and everything else in their lives.

Go to and begin your Parent Training for anxiety and everything else.

Parent Training Here

Raise children who are happy, loving, and responsible.

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About the author 

Greg Baer, M.D.

I am the founder of The Real Love® Company, Inc, a non-profit organization. Following the sale of my successful ophthalmology practice I have dedicated the past 25 years to teaching people a remarkable process that replaces all of life's "crazy" with peace, confidence and meaning in various aspects of their personal lives, including parenting, marriages, the workplace and more.

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