The Effect of Social Media on Teenagers’ Mental Health

According to a recent report released by Common Sense Media on social media’s effects on teens, about half of the 1,500 young people surveyed said social media is very important for them in order to get support and advice, feel less alone, and express themselves creatively, as well as for staying in touch friends and family members.

The Effect of Social Media on Teenagers’ Mental Health
Image Source: Child Mind Institute

And 43% said that using social media makes them feel better when they are depressed, stressed, or anxious. Among LGBTQ youth, 52% said social media helps them feel better when they are experiencing these difficult emotions.

Many experts believe that the constant overstimulation of social networking shifts the nervous
system into fight-or-flight mode. As a result, this makes disorders such as ADHD, teen depression,
oppositional defiant disorder, and teen anxiety worse.

However, some research on social media and teen depression shows that the causality goes the other way—i.e., when teens are depressed, they look at social media more often. In one study of 600 young people, researchers found that social media use did not predict depressive symptoms, but greater depressive symptoms predicted more social media use over time.

The social media effect on youth is driven by three primary factors: inadequate sleep, exposure to
cyber bullying, lack of physical activity. 27% of the teens who frequently used social media
reported high psychological stress. For teens who used social media less frequently, only 17%
reported high psychological stress.

Teenagers on social media spend much of their time observing the lives and images of their peers. This leads to constant comparisons, which can damage self-esteem and body image, and anxiety among adolescents.

Surveys show that the proportion of friendships and sexual violence worldwide through Facebook
is 39%, Instagram 23%, WhatsApp 14%, and other tools have become uncommon for human
communication, using them for positive purposes. They can be used for beneficial purposes but
at the same, they are the main sources of serious dangers which later lead to other treacherous

According to a report by Women’s Web Studies, 34% of women are being harassed online by men; out of 150 million users of social media through the Internet 60 million are women. Over the past two decades, social media have gained so much growth and fame worldwide to an extent that many researchers are now interested in learning more about these social platforms and their effects on the community.

Despite the fact that almost everyone in the community is connected to at least one social media platform, the youth and teenagers are the leading and most fanatic of these social platforms to the point that they even social network while in class. It is to this light that researchers have found that these social sites impact the lives of our youth in a society a great deal in terms of morals, behavior and even education-wise.

Also, it exposes young teens say below eighteen years to online predators who get to woo them
into sexual acts such as lesbianism and other general sexual misconducts. It also exposes these
teens to pornographic content being spread in some the social groups online.

This in turn leads to early pregnancies amongst young girls causing them to drop out of school. It also can lead to contraction of sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV and this can lead to early deaths of our young generation. The morals of these teens is also tampered with as they now get access to
immoral literature and videos.

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