Social media is nearly ubiquitous in the lives of teens, according to the Pew Research Center. A report published by Common Sense Media found that seventy-five percent of American teenagers have social media profiles. Additional statistics indicate 70% of teens ages 13 to 17 check their social media profiles more than once a day. Although there are many positive aspects of social media for adolescents and young adults, there are also risks. Scientists have found that teen social media overuse creates a stimulation pattern like the pattern created by other addictive behaviors. The Child Mind Institute asserts that excessive exposure to social media can contribute to unhappiness as it promotes anxiety, depression, and lowered self-esteem in teenagers. Additional examples of the reported effects of social media on teenagers could include any combination of the following:
- Sleep deprivation: teenagers that forgo sleep to remain active on social media.
- Diminished communication abilities/ lack of teenage socialization skills: teenagers that become so accustomed to communicating via social media that they lack face-to-face communication skills.
- Jealousy: the constant exposure to peer’s experiences depicted on social media can foster envy and jealousy.
- Fear of missing out (FOMO): teenagers that are not up to date with the latest social media posts may fear that they will be unable to participate in conversations with peers.
- Insecurity: teenagers fear that if they do not respond to or comment on a friend’s social media posts quickly enough, they will be replaced.
Social media can have a positive effect on teens. It can help enhance social and emotional development by providing additional opportunities for teenagers to communicate with others, navigate relationships, and learn how to manage somebody who is not being kind to them. It can help teenagers learn valuable technical skills. However, persistent use of social media platforms can also have a negative impact, particularly on the mental health and well-being of young users. Further, psychologists are concerned that the harmful effects of social media on teenagers will cause problems that will impact this generation into adulthood.
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Every family in need of mental health treatment must select a program that will best suit the needs of their family. When one member of a family struggles, it impacts everyone in the family unit. To maximize the benefits of treatment we work closely with the entire family to ensure that everyone is receiving the support they need through these difficult times. Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know needs mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person’s life, long term. Pursuing support at the beginning of one’s journey can put the individual in the best position to learn how to manage themselves in a healthy way so they can go on to live happy and fulfilling lives.
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