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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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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