There are many reasons why adolescents engage so deeply in social media. For some, they can connect with other teens around the world. For others, they find informational content they are interested in, and others like the endless entertainment social media provides. While there are great benefits and content found on social media platforms, there are negative consequences for teens who endlessly scroll on social media—including adverse effects on their mental health.
How does social media affect adolescent mental health? This article explores how social media affects teens and ways you can help your teen avoid the pitfalls of social media. If your teen is struggling with their mental health as a result of social media exposure, the Berman Center can help. We offer evidence-based outpatient treatment programs that address those issues head-on and give them the tools they need to regain their happiness and confidence. Call the Berman Center today to learn more about our outpatient mental health center in Atlanta.
How Does Social Media Affect Adolescent Mental Health?
In many ways, social media platforms have removed barriers between the user and the audience. For many teens, they may post or react to content impulsively. While their post and reactions may reflect their feelings at that moment, those feelings may not be true the next day. When reviewing those posts, they may feel great regret and shame. The resulting negative comments that may result can significantly affect their self-esteem and confidence.
Social media content is often filtered and edited to show the best attributes of a person or product. These images of “perfection” are largely unattainable, and teens may go to great lengths to achieve what they see on social media. Additionally, social media affects mental health in the fact that teens feel their self-worth is determined by the number of clicks they receive on a post or how many likes they receive. This also may create feelings of low self-esteem, anxiety, and even depression if they don’t get the response they desire from their posts.
There are also potentially dangerous consequences for teens as a result of social media. An increasing number of teens are victims of cyberbullying and stalking. These activities increase the chances of teens experiencing the following:
- Abuse of substances
- Experience bullying “in person”
- Skipping school
- Lower self-esteem
- Increased health issues
Warning Signs that Your Teen’s Social Media Use is Affecting Their Mental Health
When discussing how social media affects adolescent mental health, you must know the signs that your teen’s social media use is affecting their mental health. The most obvious sign is your teen is constantly attached to their smartphone, tablet, or laptop. Another telltale sign is that your teen is constantly checking their Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and other social media platforms. Additionally, your teen may isolate themselves from family and friends and may struggle with being mentally “present” at the moment. Your teen may also experience lingering depression or anxiety—especially if they are a victim of cyberbullying or online stalking.
Tips For Teaching Teens Responsible Social Media Use
While there are significant dangers regarding social media use and adolescent mental health, there are steps you can take to encourage responsible social media use. Mayo Clinic outlines the following options:
Set reasonable limits–Talk to your teen about how to avoid letting social media interfere with their activities, sleep, meals, or homework. Encourage a bedtime routine that avoids electronic media use, and keep cellphones and tablets out of teens’ bedrooms. Set an example by following these rules yourself.
Monitor your teen’s accounts–Let your teen know that you’ll be regularly checking their social media accounts. You might aim to do so once a week or more. Make sure you follow through.
Explain what’s not OK–Discourage your teen from gossiping, spreading rumors, bullying, or damaging someone’s reputation — online or otherwise. Talk to your teen about what is appropriate and safe to share on social media.
Encourage face-to-face contact with friends–This is particularly important for teens vulnerable to social anxiety disorder.
Talk about social media–Talk about your social media habits. Ask your teen how they use social media and how it makes them feel. Remind your teen that social media is full of unrealistic images.
The Berman Center Can Help Your Teen Overcome Social Media Abuse and Addiction
So, how does social media affect adolescent mental health? Social media misuse and abuse can significantly impact your teen’s mental well-being and, in some cases, be dangerous. If your son or daughter is experiencing mental health issues as a result of their social media use, the Berman Center can help! Located in Atlanta, GA, our outpatient mental health treatment programs help your teen learn healthy coping skills and give them the support they need to overcome the anxiety and depression associated with social media abuse.
Our evidence-based programs and experienced team of professionals will help empower your teen to transform their life for the better. Call the Berman Center toll-free right now.