In today’s world, social media is king for many people but holds a special level of importance for teenagers. Parents often struggle to divert their teens from spending all day glued to Instagram, TikTok, and other sites that attract millions of adolescents daily. What some parents may wonder about is if there are negative effects of social media on teens. Young people can not only spend an inordinate amount of time staring at their screens and updating people, but they can also increase their symptoms of poor mental health. New View Wellness in Atlanta explores this topic to help parents understand what may influence their teenagers to feel worse about themselves.

The Positive Effects of Social Media on Teens

Engaging in social media does offer some positive outcomes. In fact, one of the strongest effects of social media on teens is how it helps many feel connected to others when isolation is a problem for them in real-time. In particular, LGBTQ youth report that getting on social media helps them when they feel depressed or stressed out. It also offers young people a way to make new friends and keep up with old ones. Many also use social media to express their creative sides through making videos and other creative arts endeavors.

Are There Negative Effects of Social Media on Teens?

When it comes to the effects of social media on teens, the bad comes along with the good. Many teenagers end up using social media as an alternative to getting out in their communities and engaging in real-time activities. In fact, they risk tech addiction, which diminishes their ability to be comfortable engaging with people in person. As well, the usage of social media exposes kids to unreal, filtered body images and cyberbullying.

How Social Media Impacts Mental Health in Teenagers

There can also be negative effects of social media on teens when it comes to their mental health. Teenagers who already experience depression tend to engage in social media much more often than their counterparts. Despite using social media to help alleviate symptoms of depression, they tended to feel even more depressed and lonely after its usage.  A study of teenagers aged 14 to 17 showed that those who engaged in screen time, including social media, seven or more hours per day were more than twice as likely to have depression or anxiety than those who only spent one hour per day staring at screens. They were also more than twice as likely to have been treated by a mental health professional and have taken medications to address psychological or behavioral issues. 

The Illusions of Social Media Life

Much like “reality” television is often anything but real, social media life can be full of illusions. Teenagers are already heavily invested in comparing themselves to others and often do so by looking at the social media accounts of their peers and celebrities. People use a variety of filters and Photoshop-type programs to alter their appearance, which can leave others feeling bad about themselves in comparison. They end up with poor self-esteem and bad body images, without being aware that they are comparing themselves to drastically altered images that are not real. As a result, many teenagers feel worse about themselves, yet still spend a lot of time scrolling through social media daily.

Other Negative Effects of the World of Social Media

Teenagers often hide their behaviors from their parents. Social media can make it easier to do this, especially when it comes to alarming behaviors that need addressing. For example, teens who engage in substance abuse, have eating disorders, or self-harm can find social media accounts that support these behaviors. These forums provide them with a place in which they are encouraged to stay sick and learn tips to hide their conditions from their parents. 

How is Mental Illness in Teenagers Treated?

Mental illness in teenagers is treated through exposure to different types of therapy. If needed, prescription medications can also help alleviate many of the symptoms of mental health disorders. The types of therapy that help teenagers dealing with mental illness include:

  • Psychotherapy
  • Psychiatry
  • Family therapy
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
  • Genetic testing

Find Help For Your Teenager Today

Helping young people understand the negative effects of social media on teens can go a long way in helping them engage in it more wisely. New View Wellness in Atlanta treats teenagers in our welcoming facility in morning sessions each day. We help them understand the power they hold to learn to engage in more positive thoughts and behaviors. Our dedicated staff provides multiple therapy modalities and access to prescription medications that help minimize and eliminate many symptoms of poor mental health.

For more information about how we can help your child begin to heal, contact us today. We welcome the opportunity to listen to your family’s concerns and help craft a solution.