Almost every teen is addicted to the world of social media these days. The pressure of being available and active on all popular social media apps can be really challenging for today’s teens. In fact, teens tend to use social media apps much more than most adults.
We can support this fact by presenting a report by Common Sense Media that revealed that about 75 percent of teens in the US have a presence on social media. In fact, social media is an active part of their lives. A parental control app can be used to manage and control their social media usage but we will come to this part later.
Another report by Common Sense Media stated that about 51 percent of teens open social media apps daily. The majority of teens open social media apps several times a day and spend a huge chunk of their time there. 1 in 4 teens is strongly addicted to social media.
How Social Media Affects Teen Brain
A recent study revealed that a certain part of the teen brain becomes activated by the likes and comments they receive on social media. This causes them to use social media apps even more.
Teens feel overwhelmed with the number of likes on the pictures or videos they have posted on social media apps. The part in the teen brains that become activated with the number of likes is also triggered when they like the photos of someone they love or when they win money.
Social media attracts young kids and teens and makes them spend most of their time there. However, there are negative effects associated with the extreme use of social media. We will discuss how social media can negatively affect teen mental health and cause them to develop serious health problems.
Mental Health Problems
It would be wrong to take social media in the negative light only. It does provide several benefits to teens as well. For instance, social media apps play an integral role in enhancing teen social interactions and help them learn valuable technical skills.
However, social media only becomes a problem when kids and teens start using the platforms excessively. The excessive use of social media can have a significant impact on teen minds. Most teens cannot recognize the dangers and threats that they could be exposed to when they are spending their time online.
Most teens are susceptible to coming across online threats such as cyberbullying, sexting, pornography, sexual predating, and peer pressure. Teens can only be exposed to them when they are spending too much time on social media apps.
Below, we have listed the most common mental health-related problems teens can experience from spending too much time on social media.
The thing with teens is that when they use social media apps, they become emotionally invested in them. The pressure of being online all the time, replying to someone’s message quickly, and then posting perfect photos with perfect captions can cause them a great deal of anxiety. Several studies have shown that the bigger a teen’s online social circle is, the more anxious they feel about keeping up with everything on the internet.
Many teen girls experience feelings of anxiety when they are about to post something on their social media apps. They worry about what others would think of them and how they would respond when they see them next. Also, we should also take cyberbullying, slut-shaming, and other mean online behaviors into account. These behaviors can become a real source of anxiety for most teens.
Many studies have revealed a strong link between social media and depression. It has also been found that the symptoms of depression intensify in a teen with the excessive use of social media. The overuse of social media decreases social activity and increases loneliness in teens which eventually leads them to depression.
A study in Computers in Human Behavior revealed that the use of several social media sites all at once is strongly linked with depression than the amount of time spent online. As per the study, teens who used more than seven social media apps had more than three times the risk of becoming depressed than people who used two or fewer apps.
The abuse of social media by teens induces feelings of depression and also triggers low self-esteem in them.
Lack of Sleep
Teens spend so much time on social media apps that they begin to become sleep deprived. They lose valuable sleep just by using social media late at night. As a result, the lack of sleep leads to moodiness, a major drop in school grades, overeating, as well as aggravate preexisting problems such as anxiety, depression, and ADD.
Teens have the habit of using their mobile phones and checking up on their social media apps late at night. The hours in which they should be sleeping they spend by scrolling through their social media feeds.
Using social media in the wee hours of the night can be harmful to their mental as well as physical health. Apart from feeling irritable and tired all the time, sleep deprivation can affect the immune system of teens and make them more prone to getting sick.
Feelings of Envy
Social media can trigger feelings of jealousy and envy among teens especially when they find out that someone else has possessed something or has experienced online that they haven’t. Most people have the habit of only posting good and happy posts on their social media, making others feel envious of them.
Teens, thinking that the others have more exciting lives than they do, become jealous of them and start believing that everyone is better off or happier than they are. They dwell in the game of comparison and start comparing themselves to others all the time.
This can also make them experience feelings of inferiority complex and can lead them to anger, loneliness, depression, and a couple of other serious issues.
An Advice for Parents
No parent would want their teen to experience several mental health-related problems because of the excessive use of social media. The only way to prevent teens from having these issues is to manage and control their social media usage with the help of parental control apps.
With parental controls, they can control, manage, and monitor their social media use and keep them away from online dangers. What’s more, they can also limit screen time for their kids and make them spend less time on social media apps.