DECATUR, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and recently the American Psychological Association issued recommendations for guiding teens use of social media.

The APA health advisory lists ten ways parents can increase protection for their kids online, and brings awareness about how social media networks can affect kids’ mental health.

Some of its recommendations include limiting screen time, in order to make sure it doesn’t interfere with sleep or physical activity, which could mean no social media an hour before bed. Another guideline suggests training kids on media literacy, so they know how to steer clear of incorrect information and online hate groups.

Decatur High School teacher, Becky Chase, was recently named a ‘Mental Health Champion’ for her students. The award was presented by the nonprofit, Arisa Health, and its team of professional counselors.

She said there’s a lot on kids minds right now, between making the most of their break, summer jobs and fitting it all into their social media posts.

Chase and the APA agree social media use in teens isn’t all bad. In fact, the APA’s recent guidelines recommends parents encourage social media when it creates opportunities for healthy socialization and online companionship.

Chase said it all comes down to talking with your kids about what they see online and how it makes them feel.

“Just communicate,” Chase said. “A lot of times it’s hard to get teens to open up, but if you have someone who really likes basketball, maybe go out and shoot baskets with them, and a lot of times when you keep them busy, and you’re interacting with them, conversation just starts flowing.”

She encourages parents to make sure kids have a balance of online interaction, and one-on-one time with friends and family. Chase said in-person interaction allows kids to feel the impact of someone caring for them, instead of it getting lost in translation over the phone.

“Things come out differently when it’s verbally than when it’s over instant text or email,” Chase said. “I think kids still need that personal touch, and that’s what I’m here for. I just want to love on them.”

The APA health advisory comes at a time when local mental health experts say kids are more anxious and depressed than ever.