social media impact teenagers
Parenting

How Does Social Media Affect Teenagers?

How does Social Media affect teenagers? It is the digital age, and everyone is connected on social media. There are so many advantages and positives that you can find on social media. It has been a big part of everyone’s life. Teenagers are constantly updating their life on social media, living very little privacy for themselves.

Social media is like a bit of a gateway for teenagers whenever they want some refreshment. But instead of using it for a few minutes for entertainment purposes, teenagers are getting addicted to social media. There is no doubt; you can find your teen spending time on social media 24/7.

It is like if teenagers face any problem in their life; they get into social media just to get distracted from those problems. According to research, 45% of teenagers from the age of 13-17 years are online most of the time, and most of them use social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, Facebooks, etc.

Some teens even get to social media just because of peer pressure. To fit in with their peer’s group, children join social media and get addicted to it.

As per research by Pew Research Center in 2018, YouTube is the most useful social media site. 85% of teenagers use YouTube the most, which Instagram followed. 72% of teenagers said they use Instagram the most. Also, time and again, the question about the safety of teenagers on Snapchat has been raised.

So, is snapchat really safe as we think it is?

Social media does not always have adverse effects; it has some positive effects too. Many teens are making a career through social media. Hence social media affect teenagers in both positive and negative way. Here are the positive and negative effects of social media on teenagers:

Positive Effects of Social Media on Teenagers

impacts of social media on teenagers
Photo by Adem AY on Unsplash

Some of the positive impacts of social media on teens:

Educational Benefits of Social Media on Students

Schools are encouraging students to connect with them through social media. Teenagers create groups on social media to share their assignments, study material, questions, etc.

Social media provides an excellent platform for teens to conduct group studies virtually. If your kids have doubts about their studies or cannot understand the subject matter, they can find a tutorial on YouTube. Teachers from all over the world are providing education for free on YouTube. Teens can even learn subjects of their interest from such YouTube channel.

Not just that, teens can connect with international students studying the same subjects and know things that they should be learning.

Social Media Encourages Creativity in Students

Social media is all about creating and sharing content with people. The more creative your content better the chances for you to have more views and likes on it. If your teen wants to make their career on social media, they need to be creative and think outside the box to engage their audience.

For instance, if your teen owns a YouTube channel, to grow the channel and gain more audience, they need to develop new ideas to gain the audience’s attention.

Similarly, teens can share creativity like photography, poetry, writing, thoughts, and so on. Teenagers are creating career paths using their creativity with the help of social media.

Opens Career Opportunities

Many teenagers are creating new career paths and reaching the top of their careers just by taking the help of social media.

For instance, if a teen is interested in photography, they can use Pinterest and Instagram to post their work. They can make these social media account as a reference for their work. Teens can send their work reference to Universities if they further want to continue their interest.

Likewise, with social media, teens can network with people in the same career field and learn from them. It is an effective way of building confidence among teens. LinkedIn is one of the best examples of social media platforms helping people in the professional life.

Helps To Build Connection

As mentioned above, social media is assisting in connecting people from all around the world. On social media, teens can connect with people who share a common interest with them across the globe.

For instance, a queer teen combating mental health and wellbeing can get into the LGBTQ community on social media. Here they can share experience and help each other to overcome their problems.

If teens can take such groups positively, they can build a strong connection then they make in their real life. They can make friends for life when and friendship made through such communities can be the strongest one.

Source of Entertainment

There is no doubt social media is a source of entertainment. Teen gets into social media whenever they need a break, can surf social media for hours without getting bored.

Teens can even play games on social media with their peers or send fun pictures and videos to each other. In the past, people go to movie halls, park for their entertainment purpose. But with social media, teens do not have to go anywhere; they can take out their smartphones from their pockets and entertain themselves.

Negative Effects of Social Media on Teenagers

Now that we have seen the numerous positive effects of social media, let us also talk about the negative effects of social media on teenager’s mental health.

Mental Health Issues Like Depression and Anxiety

social media affect teenagers
Photo by M.T ElGassier on Unsplash

There are many cases of teen depression and anxiety. Many psychologists and researchers have discovered that one of the causes of depression and anxiety among teens is social media. Overuse of social media increases the risk of depression and anxiety among teens.

When teens see children of their age having fun and a good life, they start to envy them. Also, teenagers feel inferior about themselves, leading to depression. Teens who get depressed due to excessive use of Facebook are known as Facebook depression.

Likewise, you can see teens are constantly on social media; they are active on social media 24/7. If they do not get to log in to their social media for more than an hour, they can face anxiety disorder.

Teens want to know what their peers and relatives are doing, and if they do not get time for surfing their social media, they start to feel FOMO “Fear of Missing Out.” Also, teens can face issues like cyber crimes, scamming which will eventually lead to anxiety.

Having to face depression and anxiety at a very young age can affect teen mental health to an extreme level.

Sleep Deprivation

With the increase in the use of social media, teenagers also suffer from sleep deprivation. If you do not stop your kids from using social media excessively, they can surf social media all night.

During the nighttime, one message notification from their friends can delay their sleep by many hours. Not just text messages, teens can even delay their sleep time if they are watching some series on YouTube. This can result in a lack of sleep among teens.

Sleep deprivation among teens can lead to eating disorders, social anxiety, drop in grades, and so on. 

When your teens spend the whole night on social media, then they feel difficult to focus on their studies in class. This will eventually reduce their academic performance. Lack of sleep will affect teens’ physical development and mental wellbeing.

Cyber Crimes

Teens love to make friends on social media to add to the number of friends on their social lists. They also add random people on their social media and even chat with them in direct messages. Teens may not be aware of what the intention of the person is. They may add scammers or stalker who are there with wicked intentions.

Cybercrime is increasing and experts are quite worried about the alarming rates it is targetted towards the teenagers. Many scammers and hackers offer products at cheap prices to scamming vulnerable teens or dwell into grey crimes.

In the same way, many cyberstalkers stalk young kids’ and teens’ social media accounts, get their details and blackmail them. Since teens love to make their social media account public and keep all their details online. Thus, cyberstalkers choose teens as their target.

Apart from that, teens can also get bullied online, which is cyberbullying. Teen either get involved in bullying their peers, or they are the victim of the bully. If they are bullied to an extreme level, it can affect them for the rest of their lives. It also results in depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and other psychological issues.

Reduces Self-Esteem

Social media does reduce the self-esteem of teenagers. In the growing years, the physical appearance changes as per the body, which makes teenagers conscious about their body image. Sometimes they might get awkward or do not like their body changes. Body consciousness is mainly found among teen girls.

When teens girls see beautiful actresses and models on social media, they wish to have the same body. Teens want to have an exact slim and fit body for which they might start to copy the daily routine of people they admire. In the course of copying, they end up losing themselves as well as their self-esteem.

Besides that, on social media, teens even see people of their age reaching the height of success at a very young age. By seeing people doing exceptionally well, they start to question their ability, which will eventually affect teen’s self-esteem.

Socially Isolated

Having lots of friends on social media doesn’t mean that person is never alone in the real world. A person who is highly social in the virtual world can be incredibly lonely in real life.

Social media might bring people together, but it also brings distance among people. Ironically, teens love to be the center of attraction on social media but avoid interacting with the real people around them. Teens can feel void inside even if they have thousands of friends and followers on their social media.

Teens who use social media more than an hour are more likely to face social isolation problems. It can get awkward for them to talk with people in real life or make eye contact with people. 

Similarly, teens can even feel socially isolated when they see their friend’s picture from a recent school party that they didn’t go on or were not invited on.

Excess Social Media Reduces Concentration on Studies

When teens spend more time on social media, they will have less time for themselves and their studies. As I mentioned above, children can get sleep-deprived when they spend all night on social media. This will reduce this concentration on their studies during day time.

Not just that, teens can even use social media when their teacher is teaching. Or they might gossip about social media in class instead of studying. If they are highly obsessed with social media, then they cannot stop thinking about social media no matter where they are.

In addition, teens can get distracted by their social media notifications when doing their homework or studying. Once they view their social media notification, they may start to surf social media instead of going back to their studies.

What Can Parents Do?

As a parent, you must provide proper guidance to your child to use social media wisely. If you do not care about your children’s social media usage, they might get out of track or misuse their social media accounts. Here are some guidelines you should follow to protect your kids from adverse social media account:

Use Parental Control Apps

Parental control apps are the best solution for protecting your teens from the adverse effects of social media. You can view all your social media activities on the parental control app.

Parental control apps monitor messages, posts, pictures they upload on their social media account. One of my favorite parental control apps for monitoring social media activities is fenced.ai.

social media
Image Source – fenced.ai

Setting Limitation on Social Media Pages

If kids are not stopped from using social media, they can use it without taking a break. Hence, it is essential to set limitations for kids to use social media.

First of all, you should not allow your kids to use social media if they have not completed their homework or have not studied. This will encourage your kids to complete their work on time. For setting limitations for social media usage, you can set time based on your kid’s age.

Allow Social Media Usage Only from Specific Device

If you do not want to use parental control apps to monitor your kid’s social media activities, you can allow your kids to use social media from a specific device. When you provide specific devices from social media usage of your kids, you can view their activities history without viewing their chats.

When you allow the device, you should make sure that they use it when you are around them. Also, do make sure that they are not taking the device inside their bedroom or using it all alone.

Teach Your Kids About Adverse Side of Social Media

Teens might not be fully aware of the adverse sides of social media. They may not be aware of scammers and hackers and may not be able to recognize them.

It would be best if you made your kids aware of hackers and scammers and what they can do. Likewise, it would be best if you also taught your kids about cyberbullying and harassment. Ask your kids to share with you if they face cyberbullying.

Be Friends With Your Kids On Social Media

impact of social media on teenagers

You need to add your teens on social media to know who they are friends with. Sometimes, teens can add strangers to their social media who can be hackers. They may not identify it, but you can identify it.

By being friends with your teens on social media, you can see what they are up on social media. If they are on any wrong track, you guide them towards the right path.

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@Dipika Singh Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Dipika Singh (Gleefulblogger) with the right and specific direction to the original content.

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22 Comments

  1. Social Media when used wisely can be a boom or it can also go the other way. It is applicable to all ages. Talking about teenagers, then yes it open door to many opportunities but also outs peer pressure when they see their friends getting likes and comments. The base line should be to make them understand the reason behind joining social media. It should not be under pressure.

  2. I personally feel social media is doing more harm than good especially for teenagers. It has become more of an addition but if it can be used constructively than their will not be any issue. Constant monitoring has become must.

  3. Amazing points you have mentioned. Despite all the positive things, one thing I am worried that kids might be socially isolated a lot.

  4. I feel just like all other things, social media also has two sides and it is up to us how we use it? no doubt, for teenagers also SM can offer many benefits but sadly, overuse of it is causing more harm than good. if it is used in limit and parents keep a control, it can offers great benefits for teenagers including study help to alternate career option.

  5. I second the thoughts! Social media has a magical change to our lifestyle, our thought process indeed, in fact, to our every move. But, similarly, addiction sways you away from the real world and real happiness. A smart parent control can save the kids from many mishaps. Parental control app fenci.ai is new to me; thanks for sharing it, Dipika.

  6. social media has its own benefits and disadvantages, very well penned . I feel the worst issue with social media is the cyber bullying and crime. But for many teenagers it is a happy place too

    1. Agreed, thank you for stopping by.

  7. Ruchi Verma says:

    I agree that teenage is the most delicate age for kids and we need to be more careful as parents. There are both positive and negative impacts on kids’ mental health.

  8. Social Media has emerged as a powerful tool. And as with everything else it has its flipside too. On the one hand, it can be harnessed for the dissemination of knowledge while on the other hand, it can have adverse effects that can even be extreme in nature. A balance needs to be maintained and parents need to counsel teenagers on this.

  9. Roma says:

    Totally agree and it applies to all, personally I don’t want Sonny to get on social media but it depends on so many factors, including my own usage as well as how his peers act

  10. Kavita Singh says:

    Social media is a boon and curse both, we can’t deny the fact that using social media affects most of us. When it comes to teenagers, their tender age needs a lot of attention. Parental control apps are definitely a plus and teaching them the right use of these platforms is indeed a must.

  11. I’ve had seen this 1st hand. My niece in peer pressure open Instagram account for herself and then she started getting inappropriate msgs and initially she was scared to tell us but we spoke to her and askd her yo delete her account. They are too neive to understand online harressment and hacking. So it’s better to make them understand the pros and cons before they start using social media

    1. Naive*

  12. This is such a balanced post, D. Why just kids even we’re happy to reconnect with friends through social media and stay updated. However, issues like depression and sleep deprivation are very harmful for teenagers. Parental control apps are the need of the hour.

  13. Social media is like a firecracker that needs to be managed well and with care. If you get too close to it it might just burst. We need to be careful and get away the moment it starts to get on our personal lives and affect the mindset.

    With regards to teenagers, it’s affecting the thought process in such a way that it gets difficult to do much. So limiting the exposure from a young age is important.

  14. The Other Brain Inc. says:

    Though a lot of teenagers are there on social media I see very few who are gaining something positive out of it. Most teenagers are here out of trend or peer pressure and this negatively impacts them.

    1. Absolutely! and we cannot blame them as the age is like that, hence we as parents have to be extra vigilant yet not snoopy.

  15. Everything has its pro and cons. It depends on us how productively we use it for our knowledge purpose. Yes! We parents have to monitor the kids and observe them silently.

    1. Yes, but as kids, they might not know what is actually right or wrong getting attracted to technology it is essential to have some control apps to observe.

  16. I agree that we need to be very careful as parents during their teenage .There are both positive and negative impacts on kids’ mental health. I will definitely download that parental control app

    1. Yes, like everything has different aspects same is with the technology. Glad you like it.

  17. I swear by the positive effects of social media especially developing creativity in kids. At the same time negative effects cannot be ignored either. We need to keep a check on their screen time

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