In today’s digital age, it seems nearly everyone is on social media, especially teens. In 2021 alone, an estimated 4.48 billion people worldwide used social media. While social media can help connect you with friends and family online, there are many negative physical, mental, and social effects social media has on teenagers. From the rampant cyberbullying online to the considerable time sucker and addictive distraction of social media, there are so many ways teens can suffer, often unknowingly, at the hands of social media.
At CTRLCare, we are a mental health center in Princeton that is committed to providing high-quality care for teens and young adults struggling with mental health and problematic technology use. We help teens build a more balanced life by helping manage their mental health symptoms while forming a healthy relationship around technology use. If you or your teen is struggling with mental illness or unhealthy technology usage, contact us today to learn how we can help you live a more sustainable, healthy life.
What Are the Effects Social Media Has on Teenagers?
A majority of teenagers are on various social media platforms. From Snapchat to Instagram, TikTok, and more, there is a broad range of addictive social media apps that present a range of unhealthy effects to teens besides just being a time sucker.
Some notable negative effects social media has on teenagers include:
- Negative comparison to others online
- Lack of focus/ distraction at school
- Wasting time on social media rather than spending time with friends in-person
- Worsening sleep quality from scrolling late in bed
- Worsening symptoms of anxiety and depression
- FOMO (fear of missing out)
- Unrealistic views of other’s lives
- Obsession with being liked online
While there are some positive ways social media affect teens, such as providing a creative outlet for teens to connect with peers online, overwhelmingly, social media presents more harm than good. The social media effect on teens can be especially harmful to teens as they are still developing their sense of identity and may not be able to fully grasp that not everything they see online is real and factual.
Can Social Media Cause Mental Health Disorders?
While social media does not necessarily cause mental health disorders, excessive, unhealthy social media use can worsen some mental health disorder symptoms. For instance, if a teen suffers from anxiety and depression, unhealthy social media use can fuel and exacerbate their anxiety and depression symptoms.
Additionally, problematic social media use is tied to worse sleep habits and a mounting sense of loneliness and isolation, which are more factors that can worsen and put an individual at risk for suffering from mental illness.
What is Problematic Social Media Use?
While social media is addicting, it does not automatically mean that all teens who use it in an unhealthy, problematic manner. Although there is no one definition for what problematic social media use is, there is a range of factors that can point to problematic social media use, such as:
- Constantly checking social media whenever they have an opportunity.
- Obsessively moderating their social media posts’ performance (likes, comments, views, etc.)
- Feeling anxious and uneasy when they are unable to check their social media.
- Spending large amounts of time on social media, thus neglecting the time towards other hobbies and responsibilities
- Spending excessive amounts of time planning and editing their social media posts to “perfection”
Although unhealthy social media use may vary slightly, the above behaviors are common signs of problematic social media use to look out for in your teen.
How to Find Social Media Addiction Treatment in New Jersey
Social media has many negative effects on teenagers, which can significantly impact a teen’s overall health and well-being. Not only can social media worsen a teen’s mental illness and increase a teen’s chances of developing a mental health disorder. But, social media is highly addictive and can cause teens to spend more time scrolling online rather than creating fundamental in-person relationships with their friends and family.
At CTRLCare, we provide a range of treatment options, including social media therapy, to help teens and young adults break free of their social media addiction so they can live a happier, healthier life. Social media addiction can present countless physical, mental, and social problems in a teen’s life. We help teens free themselves of harmful social media behaviors so they can improve their mental health and well-being.
Contact us to learn how we can help your teen break free of their social media addiction to live a more balanced, healthy life.