In recent years, social media has become a significant part of teenagers’ lives. Studies show that 90% of adolescents aged between 13 and 17 have used social media. While social media can be beneficial, it can be very harmful to them as well. Understanding how it affects teenagers’ mental health is therefore significant.
Upsides of social media for teenagers
Social media allows teenagers to socialize and communicate while building their social networks. It can therefore be a good help for teens struggling with social anxiety or social skills.
Moreover, teens have the opportunity to meet new people. Therefore, those experiencing exclusion, having disabilities, or being part of marginalized groups; can find valuable friendships and support.
Finally, social media can be great for teenagers to keep in touch with friends and family when they move to another country.
Downsides of social media for teenagers
While social media has its benefits, it also has a significant number of prejudices.
Many studies show that a teenagers’ use of social media correlates with his mental health. For instance, a teen that spends a lot of time outdoor, exercises, and is socially active, is less likely to have mental health issues than a teen who spends all his time on social media.
But why is that the case?
One notable factor is that teenagers tend to compare themselves to others. They constantly focus on other people’s lives, how they look-like, or what they do during the day. But while this can seem entertaining at first, it can slowly destroy the teen’s perception of himself, self-love, and body image (this can lead to depression).
Teenagers often forget that what people show on social media is only the tip of the iceberg. For instance, someone could be suffering from depression but still posting videos as if everything was ok. Hence, social media can be misleading and exposes teenagers to unrealistic views.
Besides, as many teens spend time on social media during the day and before going to bed, it tends to disrupt their concentration and sleep.
Finally, as people find it easier to bully and criticize behind a screen, social media has become an instrument that is often used for bullying and spreading rumors.