How Does Social Media Affect Teenagers' Mental Health?
Why and how does social media affect teenagers? Read on to learn about teenagers’ mental health, symptoms, and the effects of social media.
Teenagers and Social Media
Every human, including teens, is naturally social. With the increase in social media influence, there’s a tendency for excessive use. In teenagers, high use of social media can result in depression, isolation, and anxiety.
Social Media: How Does it Influence People?
Even with the seemingly adverse effects of social media, there are various examples of the positive impact of social media. For instance, it helps in building long-distance relationships with people.
Young adults are highly prone to experiencing various teenage mental health effects of social media, especially without adequate supervision. Keep reading to answer the question, “how does social media affect teenagers?”
How Does Social Media Affect Teenagers' Mental Health?
Social media proves to be a big part of many teenagers’ lives. According to a 2018 survey by Pew Research Center, 45 % of 13- to 17-year-old teenagers are constantly online. 97% of these teenagers also use social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.1
Social media and mental health are connected. High use of social media can negatively affect teenagers by distracting them, disrupting their sleep patterns, and exposing them to bullying.
According to a 2019 study involving over 6,500 12 to 15-year-old individuals, those who spent more time on social media were at a higher risk of teenage mental health problems. Another study among teens found that using social media thrice daily or more showed poor mental well-being.
How Does Social Media Affect the Teenage Brain?
Social media can affect the teenage brain by providing feel-good chemicals from entertaining content or activity online. Most teens may also utilize social media to escape and cope with underlying teenage mental health challenges. Hence, spending too much time on any social media platform can distract them from physical relationships.
How Does Social Media Cause Low Self-Esteem in Adolescents?
Research shows that social media and mental health relate. Excessive use may lead to low self-esteem in young adults. This statistic majorly applies to ladies between the ages of 10 and 14. Teenagers tend to become less aware of themselves and their identity and begin to compare themselves. These comparisons may include clothes, interests, grades, and overall appearances.
Do Social Media Apps Cause Body Image Issues in Teenage Girls?
Symptoms of Social Media Anxiety Disorder
Individuals who experience FOMO try to check their social media accounts for the most recent activity. FOMO relates to lower mood and life satisfaction.2
Cognitive Psychology Explores Our Mental Processes
Also, Cognitive perspective explores our mental processes. It helps show us how our mind works. By doing studies that follow our reactions to certain stimuli, we can see what parts of the brain do specific things. Tracking brain activity based on our responses to external stimuli helps us further identify areas of the brain that cause specific daily functions. This can also help a lot with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and learning disability treatment.3
Indicators of Social Media Anxiety Disorder
- Spending more than six hours each day using social media
- Lying about the amount of time spent on social media
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Failing in attempts to cut back on social media use
- Neglecting or losing interest in school, work, and favorite activities
- Experiencing severe nervousness, anxiety, or withdrawal symptoms when unable to check social media
- Having an overwhelming desire to share on social media feeds
Health Conditions Tied to Young People's Use of Social Media
There’s a relationship between social media and depression. Reports show that young adults who spend more time on social media platforms were shown to experience significant levels of depression. Most teenagers feel isolated because social media interactions may be less emotionally satisfying.3
What Are The Positive and Negative Effects of Social Media Platforms?
Positive Effects of Social Media Platforms
Here are some of the significant positive effects of social media:
- Staying in touch with friends and family when face to face interactions are not possible
- Safety updates can be shared on school social media sites during emergencies
- Many groups share events on social media, like clubs, sports, music, and other organizations
- Teens can connect with other like-minded people through shared hobbies and interests
- Kids can share healthy coping skills and learn positive behaviors from others
- Online substance abuse and mental health treatment can help kids who struggle to find support
Negative Effects of Social Media
- Social comparisons can impact your teen’s self-esteem
- Social media can “hijack” your teen’s brain
- Teens might use social media excessively to escape or cope with underlying mental health conditions
- Distracts your teen from developing real-life relationships
- Leaves your child vulnerable to cyberbullying, disturbing content, or sexual predators
Tips and Resources for Teens and Children
- Set limits on the time spent on social media
- Be aware of how using social media makes you feel
- Avoid falling into the negativity trap (always feel positive about yourself)
- Remember that what you see on social media isn’t real
Tips and Resources for Parents
Helping your teens use social media appropriately isn’t so challenging. Here are some helpful tips to follow:
- Keep tabs on how your children feel when using social media
- Monitor children’s social messages to ensure they aren’t harmful
- Set and enforce guidelines for children’s social media use
- Be a stellar example of appropriate social media use