How Social Media Affects Teenagers
Reasons Why Teenagers Use Social Media
Fear of Missing Out
Social Comparison and Validation
Dopamine: Social Media Alters Brain Chemistry
Impacts of Social Media on Teenagers
- Poor Academic Performance Getting hooked to social media can reduce students’ academic performance, since they might spend more time and effort maintaining their social pages than reading their schoolbooks. Moreover, it affects their time management skills. Instead of doing homework, they might waste a lot of time interacting with others. Excessive use of the Internet lowers someone’s concentration and attention span, making it harder to focus on their school requirements.
- Seeking Constant Validation For a teenager, getting likes, comments, and shares usually mean being accepted and validated. Not getting enough engagement might cause someone to develop social anxiety, and a constant need for validation sometimes leads to feelings of inadequacy, disappointment, and discouragement.
- Physical and Mental Health Problems Constant use of social media exposes teens to risks relating to physical health. Long screen times make them stay awake late at night, and this disrupts sleep patterns. Too much social media can also lead to eating disorders, high blood pressure, and heart diseases.Furthermore, social media can damage one’s mental health. Often times it leads to adolescents needing teen mental health treatment. Not only does it alter the structure of the brain, but it also affects a person’s mood, emotions, and behavior.Teens are at a higher risk of getting cyberbullied by other social media users. They are prone to personality disorders and mental health problems, such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, panic disorders, low self-esteem, inferiority or superiority complex, and depression.
- Social Media Addiction The goal of social media is to make a person stay online as long as possible, and the feeling of “craving for more” can be considered a social media addiction. According to a study by Harvard University, using social networking sites “lights up” the same parts of the brain that also get triggered when using addictive drugs. This can often lead to depression, where the adolescent’s parents will seek out a therapist or teen depression treatment program.
- Drug and Alcohol Use The portrayal of illicit drugs and alcohol on social media platforms heavily influences someone’s perspective, especially if they are a teenager. Most mainstream movies and music tend to glorify and normalize these substances, making teens feel that they are “cool” by using them to fit in.
What Can Parents Do to Lessen the Negative Impacts of Social Media?
- Communicate. Let your teen tell you about why they use social media. Make them feel that you are trying your best to understand them, despite the generation gap.
- Understand the pros and cons of social media use. Despite the negative impacts of social media, it also has its benefits. Do some research if necessary, and discuss the pros and cons with your child.
- Monitor your child’s social media consumption. Make sure that your child uses social media apps appropriate to their age. Google Play Store and Apple App Store show the recommended age of users, and you should check them before installing apps on your child’s phone. In addition, set time limits if you deem it necessary.
- Think of alternatives. Some teens use social media because they cannot spend enough time with their families and need attention. Think of alternative activities that you can do with your child, like painting, listening to or making music, watching movies, playing with pets, hiking, beach outings, and more.
- Seek professional help. Too much social media consumption may lead to addiction. Keep an eye out for the signs and seek professional help as early as possible. Not all families have open communication, so it can get awkward to suddenly sit down and talk about what’s going on in their teen’s mind. In those cases, the child might be more comfortable talking with someone they don’t know, like a professional.
What Can We Do for You and Your Teen?
Teens are at high risk of being affected by social media. Studies have proven that they consume these online resources the most and for the longest periods. We know you are concerned with your teen’s well-being, so we are here to act on these issues. At Key Healthcare, we seek to mend social media addiction and all other teen addiction treatment. We prevent its symptoms as quickly as possible. Social media can be addictive, but we can help your teen by working together. Get in touch with us today.