April 9, 2022

Social Media Affects on Teens

It's rare to find a teenager who isn't attached to their phone these days. Social media has become a huge part of our lives, especially for teens. It's a way to connect with friends and family, but it can also impact mental health.

How Does Social Media Affect Teenagers' Mental Health?

A 2018 Pew Research Center survey found that about 90% of teens go online multiple times per day. This constant connection is bound to have an effect on mental health – both positive and negative.

Benefits of Social Media

Social media can be a great way to connect with others and build social networks that can offer support. This is especially true for teens who deal with chronic illnesses or disabilities.

Other benefits of social media include:

  • Allowing teens to express themselves
  • Providing a sense of belonging
  • Building social and communication skills
  • Providing more exposure to current events and social issues

These benefits can help teenagers feel more connected to the world around them.

Negative Effects of Social Media

Unfortunately, the affects social media has on teens can also be negative – especially for those who already deal with mental health issues. The constant comparisons that social media encourages can lead to low self-esteem.  A 2019 study found that teens who spent over three hours a day on social media had a higher risk of developing mental health problems.

Common negative effects of social media include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Loneliness
  • Sleep problems
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Eating disorders
  • Cyberbullying

The pressure to be available 24/7 can also be overwhelming for some teenagers, which can lead to them having difficulty setting healthy boundaries.

How Social Media Affects Boys and Girls Differently

There is a lot of pressure to be perfect on social media for both boys and girls. Photos are carefully curated and edited to show only the best version of ourselves. This can lead to comparison and feelings of inadequacy for both genders. However, there are some key differences in how social media affects girls and boys.

For girls, social media can be a way to build friendships. It can also be a place to share photos and experiences. However, social media can also be a source of body image issues and anxiety for girls. A 2019 study found that girls who used social media for more than five hours a day were 15% more likely to develop depression than boys who used social media for the same amount of time.

This may be because boys tend to use social media differently than girls. They are more likely to use it to connect with friends and play games. However, social media can also lead to boys comparing themselves to others and feeling like they are not good enough.

What Can Parents Do?

If you're a parent of a teenager, there are some things you can do to help them stay healthy and balanced:

  • Monitor social media use. Try to limit social media use to no more than two hours a day.
  • Encourage face-to-face social interaction. Make sure your teenager is spending time with friends and family in person.
  • Create social media rules. Set ground rules for social media use, such as no social media after a certain time at night.
  • Encourage healthy activities. Help your teenager find other things to do that they enjoy, such as sports or hobbies.
  • Talk about social media. Talk to your teenager about the positives and negatives of social media use.
  • Seek professional help. If you're concerned about your teenager's mental health, you may want to seek help from a professional who can help your child.

Is Your Child Struggling?

If you have a teen or adolescent who is struggling with mental health, we can help. Contact Teensavers today to learn more about what we can do to support you and your teen.

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