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How Does Social Media Affect Teens

5 min read

How Does Social Media Affect Teens – Before taking a shower, brushing their teeth and eating breakfast, many teenage girls start the morning by reaching for their phone. On their way to school, they can scroll through Instagram posts from their classmates, share videos from their favorite TikTok creators, or respond to late-night messages from a group chat with their best friends.

It may seem like a trivial interaction—although adults are to blame for their own digital obsessions—but for many teenage girls, social media platforms have a profound effect on their mental and emotional health.

How Does Social Media Affect Teens

Researchers who analyzed data from more than 10,000 teenagers found that frequent social media use had a disproportionately negative impact on the mental health of teenage girls than boys. While this may seem like a side effect of a phone-addicted generation, the answer is as simple as unplugging. Despite the harmful effects, many teenage girls continue to use these digital platforms for fear of missing out, said Natasha Varela, director of child, adolescent and family services and a therapist at Northwestern University’s Family Institute.

Teens Under The Influence Of Social Media

“Teenagers often have a carefree, carefree attitude,” Varela said. “They know cyberbullying is possible, but they’ll think, ‘If it happens to me, I can handle it.’

Counselors, parents, and other caregivers can encourage adolescent girls to develop resilience and healthy habits while surfing the Internet, and to use social media to positively contribute to their mental and physical health.

“Even if they act like it doesn’t bother them, teenagers want us to pay attention,” Varela said. “They still want to be taken care of.”

Screen time is an increasingly common part of everyday life for people of all ages. in 2019 The Common Sense Media report estimates screen use among teens and 18-year-olds between the ages of 8 and 18 (not including school or homework):

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For both age groups, the majority of screen time is spent watching TV and playing games, followed by browsing social media and other websites, the report said.

“A lot of these uses are at night,” Varela said. “It prevents them from getting enough sleep, which can be problematic for their development.”

Teens look at different types of content when browsing social media, including posts from friends and family, content posted by celebrities and influencers, and targeted ads from brands and companies that sell products and services online.

When it comes to what they post themselves, boys and girls differ in the content they post to the world and their emotional attachment to the content they post, Varela said.

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While boys are more likely to share things that are funny or funny, “girls are really using social media to connect with other people,” she said. “Many teenagers use this space to present themselves the way they want to be seen, but girls feel pressured to worry about how others will perceive them.

In 2018 A Pew Research report indicates that girls use social media very differently and are more likely than boys to share their personal beliefs, feelings and issues.

For information about what teens post on social media, go to the data table version at the bottom of the page.

Although the long-term effects of frequent Internet use in adolescence are not yet fully known, several researchers have tracked the browsing habits of young children and adolescents to determine whether potential negative mental health outcomes are associated with Internet behavior.

How Social Media Affects Teens

Bullying has long been a source of psychological distress for teenagers. in 2019 In a report in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health on the links between social media use and mental health and well-being, researchers found that cyberbullying and sleep deprivation accounted for 60% of the link between social media and psychological distress. For girls, social media use was inversely related to well-being.

The study’s authors also said that the effects of social media use are mostly related to what screen time takes away from teenagers: sleep and exercise. The report states that “interventions to promote mental health should include efforts to prevent or increase resilience to cyberbullying and ensure adequate sleep and physical activity among young people.”

“It’s hard to admit when it becomes a problem because there’s pressure to keep up with what their peers are doing,” Mr. Varela said.

In 2017 in a study published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, researchers identified two types of reciprocal, depressive cycles associated with use of the social media platform Instagram: surfing and posting.

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Browsing Instagram has been linked to an increase in depressed mood in adolescents. Similarly, an adolescent’s initial depressed mood was also associated with an increase in Instagram posts. This creates a painful cycle: the more you surf, the more depressed you feel. the more depressed you are, the more you post.

According to the study, both cycles were similar for boys and girls, suggesting that more research is needed.

In 2019 conducted on the number of teenage suicides between 1975 and 2016. a cross-sectional study in JAMA Network Open shows the greatest percentage increase in girls aged 10-14.

Invited for comment by the JAMA Network Openstudy, the authors say stress from social media may be a common factor in suicide attempts. Also, why are these rates increasing so rapidly among 10-14 year old girls? … [however] there has been speculation and some empirical data suggesting that increased social media use among youth is a factor that may be associated with increased suicide rates. The authors of this commentary go on to cite several studies that reveal more about girls’ social media use, including that “girls are more likely to use social media and experience more cyberbullying.”

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When negative behavior isn’t addressed, Varela said, the consequences can be “self-harm, feelings of hopelessness, suicidal thoughts and the possibility of wanting to hurt others.”

In 2017 A study of adolescent responses to social media browsing found that negative self-comparison predicted direct effects on emotions while browsing others’ social profiles.

The researchers also suggested that subjects’ awareness of the curated nature of social media and unrealistic highlight reels may be a useful protective factor for adolescents to understand the difference between reality and expectations.

“External pressure is more pronounced for girls,” Varela said. “The pressure on them to look a certain way is imbalanced.”

Ways Social Media Affects Teen Mental Health

If teenagers know that cyberbullying is a guaranteed part of the online experience, why don’t they opt out?

“There’s pressure to be a part of what’s going on in a negative way, and a desire to appear a certain way to your peers,” Varela said.

Find a safe place to register. Use one with a counselor, parent, or friend to discuss social and emotional well-being confidentially and honestly.

Create your own boundaries. What is a good balance between screen time and other responsibilities? Set limits on screen time or social media apps.

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Respect others’ boundaries. If you know your peers are offline or going to bed at night, respectfully avoid keeping them awake with messages or social media posts.

Be open about self-consciousness and feelings. Think about the effect cyberbullying has had on others, or think about a time when you were affected by similar behavior.

The role play is hypothetical. How would you react if someone made a false statement about you? Who would you ask if you needed help? Before reacting to the moment, talk about strategies for how to react or not to react.

Varela said that when teens think more about what they do before posting online, they are less likely to share things they regret or hurt others.

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It is okay for teenagers to spend time online. Creating online activities is part of building their identity, developing social skills, and learning about the world on their own terms

“Teenagers are often moody and resilient,” Varela said. “There’s baseline, and then there’s clinically relevant behavior.”

He added that banning the use of social media altogether could lead to rebellious and fear-based behavior, falsely inspiring the idea that social media has only negative effects. Many teenagers may find that it helps with social isolation, self-expression and interpersonal relationships. Instead of banning screen time, parents and adults can talk to teens about optimizing technology to benefit their lives.

Clarify intentions and habits. Take advantage of the face-to-face conversation and ask your teen what his intentions are on social media. Do they use it to find friends or romantic partners? What impact do they want their social media content to have on others?

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Talk about tone and language. Ask the teens to think about how their words affect others around them. Discuss the short-term and long-term consequences of harmful speech.

Set screen time limits and tech-free zones. Use in-app and device restrictions that limit screen time and access to social media without blocking it entirely.

Stop cyberbullying before it happens. Educate teenagers about the dangers of hostile and bullying behavior both online and in real life.

A model of attention and presence. If you’ve set up a tech-free zone at home or school, make sure you and other adults follow the rules, too.

How Does Social Media Affect The Brain?

Look for changes in behavior. Adolescents may suddenly change their behavior, such as withdrawing

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