Social media is a “collective term for websites and applications that focus on communication, community-based input, interaction, content-sharing, and collaboration.” Social media has become ubiquitous in the lives of American teens. A report published by Common Sense Media found that seventy-five percent of American teenagers have social media profiles, and additional statistics indicate 70% of teens ages 13 to 17 check their social media profiles more than once a day. Social media can also have a positive effect on teens. It can help enhance social and emotional development by providing additional opportunities for teenagers to communicate with others and navigate relationships. It can help teenagers learn valuable technical skills. Social media exposes teens to current events and important issues occurring across the world. This can give teens a platform to voice their opinions on global issues as well as enable teenagers to get involved in actively supporting various causes. However, persistent use of social media platforms can also have a negative impact, particularly on the mental health and well-being of young users.
The Effects Of Social Media On Teenage Mental Health
Scientists have discovered that social media overuse creates a stimulation pattern that mirrors the pattern created by other addictive behaviors. Though a great deal of social support can be gained from engaging in social media, in moderation, there are many ways social media can harm an adolescent’s mental health. The following information illuminates some of the adverse mental health consequences associated with excessive social media use in teenagers:
- One study involving nearly 12,000 adolescents, found that overall, heavier social media use was associated with poorer sleep patterns, and participants with very high social media use were more likely than average users to report late sleep onset, late wake times, and difficulty falling back asleep after night-time waking. Sleep is a fundamental necessity of life, and even a minor sleep deficit can negatively influence a teen’s mental health.
- Social media has been known to trigger comparison with others, which can raise doubts about self-worth. While social comparison has long been a part of adolescent life, social media has greatly increased the number of opportunities to compare and the ways in which these types of comparison occur.
- 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.
Although teenagers can benefit greatly from the many positive aspects of social media, empirical data indicates that heavy social media use among teens is directly linked to an array of unwanted physiological outcomes, and can be detrimental to a young person’s mental health and overall well-being.
For Information and Support
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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