We are still in a dilemma that whether social media is damaging the mental health of teens or there are some positive aspects of social media! It’s important to remember that teens are hardwired for socialization, and social media makes socializing easy and immediate. Teens who struggle with social skills, social anxiety, or who don’t have easy access to face-to-face socializing with other teens might benefit from connecting with other teens through social media. On the contrary, you’ll find that the negatives tend to feel bigger than the positives.
While teens can use social media to connect and create friendships with others, they also confront cyberbullying, trolls, toxic comparisons, sleep deprivation, and less frequent face-to-face interactions, to name a few.
The supposed effects of social media on young people sound drastic enough to make anyone switch off their cell phone. Some studies have indicated that young people can develop an addiction to social media. Meanwhile, other studies have linked this with poor sleep, poor self-esteem, and potentially poor mental health.
Time spent online displaces in-person interactions.17 Although primarily correlational, research suggests that young people who replace in-person exchanges with virtual interactions intensify their social impairments, whereas those who use online exchanges to supplement existing friendships report improvements in the quality and closeness of their existing relationships. If adolescents preferentially seek online experiences over in-person ones, social anxiety symptoms could worsen in vulnerable individuals. Furthermore, researchers have found that individuals reporting symptoms consistent with social anxiety disorder endorsed a growing “reliance upon the Internet as a social outlet to the exclusion of face-to-face interactions.
Spending too much time online has been proven to cause illnesses such as eye strain, neck pain, and lower back problems. In addition, the sedentary way we sit around and “talk” to people on Facebook can cause physical illnesses such as obesity, heart disease, nutrition problems, and risk of stroke and certain kinds of cancers. Researchers have found that using social media obsessively causes more than just anxiety. In fact, testing has found that using too much internet can cause depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), impulsive disorder, problems with mental functioning, paranoia, and loneliness. It is more than just the pressure of sharing things with others, it is also about how you may be comparing your life with others you see on Facebook. Many people see that someone on Facebook who has a great job, excellent husband, and a beautiful home and they feel happy for them. But, others can feel jealous, depressed, or may even feel suicidal about their own life if it is not as “perfect” as those they see on Facebook. Spending more time on mobiles is distracting couples from paying attention to their relationships and work on its betterment.
A variety of surveys dating back as far as the 1930s have shown that a substantial proportion of children experience acute fearful reactions to various aspects of the content of media, especially movies, television dramas, and the news. Correlational studies reveal an association between the amount of television viewing and sleep problems, and retrospective reports2 reveal that intense, trauma-like symptoms from media exposure are common in children and adolescents.
Research on traditional media has found that the representation of attractive people leading exciting and idealized lives in media programs invites social comparison and contributes to dissatisfaction with oneself. Similarly, with digital media, researchers have examined whether exposure to social networking sites can influence depression and anxiety in adolescents through technology-based negative social comparison, resulting in negative self-evaluation or anxiety about evaluation by others.