Social Media and its Impact on Teenagers

Many teenagers’ lives are dominated by social media. According to a 2018 Pew Research Center survey of almost 750 13- to 17-year-olds, 45 percent of them are almost always online, and 97 percent use a social media platform like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat But how does social media use affect teenagers?

The Advantages of Social Media

Teens can use social media to establish online identities, engage with others, and form social networks. These networks can be extremely beneficial to youth, especially those who are socially excluded, have impairments, or suffer from chronic illnesses.

Social media is also used by teenagers for enjoyment and self-expression. Furthermore, the platforms can educate kids on a range of topics, including healthy behaviors, by exposing them to current events, allowing them to interact across geographic barriers, and exposing them to current events. Humorous or distracting social media, as well as social media that gives a genuine connection to peers and a large social network, may even help kids avoid sadness.

Social Media Harms

Social media use can also negatively affect teens, distracting them, disrupting their sleep, and exposing them to bullying, rumor spreading, unrealistic views of other people’s lives and peer pressure.

The risks might be related to how much social media teens use. A 2019 study of more than 6,500 12- to 15-year-olds in the U.S. found that those who spent more than three hours a day using social media might be at heightened risk for mental health problems. Another 2019 study of more than 12,000 13- to 16-year-olds in England found that using social media more than three times a day predicted poor mental health and well-being in teens.

Other research has found a link between excessive social media use and depression or anxiety symptoms. Greater social media use, midnight social media use, and emotional involvement in social media — such as feeling upset when unable to go on — were all connected to poor sleep quality and higher levels of anxiety and despair in a 2016 research of more than 450 teenagers.

The influence of social media may also be determined by how teens utilise it. According to a 2015 study, social comparison and feedback seeking by teenagers on social media and telephones is associated with depressed symptoms. Furthermore, a tiny 2013 study indicated that older teenagers who used social media passively, such as by just looking at other people’s images, had lower life satisfaction. These declines did not affect those who utilised social media to communicate with others or upload their own content.

And, according to a previous study on the impact of social media on undergraduate college students, the longer they used Facebook, the stronger their opinion that others were happier than they were. However, the more time students spent socialising with their peers, the less they felt this way.

Experts believe that kids who post information on social media are at danger of disclosing intimate images or highly personal stories due to their impulsive natures. Teens may be bullied, harassed, or even blackmailed as a result of this. Teens frequently make posts without thinking about the repercussions or privacy issues.

Protecting your Teen

You can take steps to encourage ethical social media use and mitigate some of its negative impacts. Consider the following suggestions:

Set sensible boundaries: Discuss with your teen how to keep social media from interfering with his or her activities, sleep, food, or homework. Encourage teens to follow a sleep ritual that excludes the use of electronic media, and keep cellphones and tablets out of their rooms. Set a good example by adhering to these guidelines.

Keep an eye on your teen’s social media profiles: Let your teen know that you’ll be reviewing his or her social media accounts on a frequent basis. You should try to perform it at least once a week. Make certain you complete the task.

Describe what isn’t acceptable: Encourage your kid not to gossip, spread rumours, bully, or harm someone’s reputation, whether online or off. Discuss what is proper and safe to publish on social media with your teen.

Encourage your pals to interact with you in person: This is especially crucial for teenagers who are prone to social anxiety.

Talk about social media: Discuss your own social media usage. Inquire about your teen’s use of social media and how it makes him or her feel. Remind your adolescent that social media is full of unreasonable expectations.