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How Social Media Affects Teens’ Mental Health

teenage boy staring at phone while a laptop is open in front of him and demonstrating how social media affects teens mental health

The social media impact on teens’ mental health can be far-reaching. Studies show that too much time spent online on social apps and websites can increase social isolation, feelings of hopelessness, depression, and anxiety. If social media have negatively impacted a teen you know in any way, adolescents relationship counseling can help.

It’s been shown that high levels of social media use can result from teens wanting to spend less time engaging in face-to-face contact with others, especially if they have depression or social anxiety. Unfortunately, this also means they are not routinely engaging with their peers, the community, or the world in healthy ways. 

Ultimately, the increased online presence can heighten feelings of isolation, alienation, and seclusion. For more information on how mental health treatment can help these teens, reach out to Imagine Boise today at 888.597.2807.

How Social Media Affects Teens

Social media affects youth in more ways than one, including their approaches to engaging with peers and adults. 

Healthy ways in which teens interact with others can include:

  • Managing themselves in challenging social situations
  • Speaking up in class
  • Attending social meetings, events, and gatherings
  • Forming and cultivating personal friendships and relationships
  • Dealing with peer conflicts
  • Navigating through cooperation and teamwork in activities

When a teen substitutes their natural, physical presence with a virtual online presence, anxiety and depression can often worsen in the long run as the opportunity to hone critical social skills is limited or even lost. 

Eventually, when the child is presented with a situation where social interaction is required, the anxiety produced from inexperience can be devastating and fuel depression.

The Social Media Impact on Teens: “Comparison Culture”

Another way social media affects teens negatively is through comparison culture. This is a relatively new term used most often in relation to social media, whereby people constantly compare their lives (as presented on social sites and apps) with other people’s lives.

When teens see that their peers have things they want and are doing things they wish they could do, feelings of resentment, jealousy, and depression can quickly take over. 

The culture of comparison mindset is critically damaging because children are especially concerned about their self-image and how they come across to others. They are often anxious about fitting in and can relentlessly compare themselves to others they see online. 

However, the real damage occurs when teens look at others online with the attitude that they will never be “as good” as those people are. Unfortunately, this type of social media impact on teens can eventually lead to thoughts of suicide, especially if bullying is also a problem for the child.

Bullying and Cyberbullying

The more time teens spend online, the more their chances of being bullied online increase. This may happen because when people can “hide” behind a device, they might be more aggressive and forward with others. It’s easy to tease, harass, and bully others online, especially with the availability of false names and fake profiles to disguise one’s real identity.

Mitigating How Social Media Affects Youth

Teen relationship counseling can help guide children through a wide variety of challenges. They can improve communication skills, learn healthy coping mechanisms, build confidence, and process emotions and feelings. 

In addition, a relationship therapy program for teens can give them a much-needed safe space to talk about anything they need to discuss without feeling judged or uncomfortable.

Help Your Teen with Relationship Therapy at Imagine Boise

If your teenager has difficulty forming and maintaining healthy personal relationships with others, whether it be with adults, peers their own age, teachers, or anyone else, we can help. To learn more about our programs for teens between the ages of 12 and 17, contact Imagine Boise today at 888.597.2807 or reach out online.