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Social Media and Mental Health Impact on Teens


Julio Avael III

Social media is a powerful tool that humans have created as a means to share and communicate with others. However, Julio Avael explains that in the past few decades, as social media usage has grown, so have the rates of mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and suicide.


Teenagers are among the demographic that utilizes social media platforms the most, often spending hours a day looking at their screens and communicating via these mediums. Rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide have been especially elevated in teenagers since the dawn of social media.


There have been many studies conducted on the direct correlation between social media consumption and the decline of mental health. Studies have found that there are a few reasons why social media may be having a negative impact on the mental health of teenagers.


Reduces Real Face-to-Face Time


One of the links between depression and feelings of loneliness is limited real-life interaction with others. While the amount of time teens spend online increases, the amount of face-to-face interactions they have with their peers is decreasing.


There is a direct correlation between limited interaction, whether that be dealing with conflict, interviews, or speaking up in class, and feelings of alienation, loneliness and anxiety, and depression.


Teens who spend a lot of time on the Internet are more likely to feel all of these things more regularly and experience increased social anxiety when they do have real-life social interactions.


Creating a Culture of Comparison


Social media often creates somewhat of a “highlight” reel of the best and most exciting moments in one’s life. This produces a culture of comparison where people may begin to feel that others have it “all” or are doing more in their day-to-day than they themselves are.


This can cause people to feel even more isolated and withdrawn from their peers than if people were to display both the good and the bad. With only seeing the highlights, it can cause a false narrative that others only have good days and can then cause other teens to feel as if they are alone in having bad or off days.


Julio Avael III

Cyberbullying


With the rise of the Internet and social media, people have constant access to their peers and feel they have a “safe” space to speak freely with little to no consequences. This has made cyberbullying a huge issue when it comes to online interactions.


Teens are especially susceptible to this, and it has caused increased rates of depression and anxiety among the demographic. Before social media, teens that were unfortunately bullied during school hours had a little relief when they left for the day. Now, teens have access to each other seemingly 24 hours a day, so the bullying can and does continue on the Internet.


Impact on Grades


Not only can social media cause teens to struggle with a wide array of mental health issues, but it can also affect them in school when it comes to their grades. This is for two main reasons. The first is that social media serves as a huge distraction.


In today’s world, more and more schools have loosened restrictions on phones in schools leading to students becoming distracted by social media apps during classes. This can have a negative effect on their grades.


The second reason grades can be impacted by social media usage is that students who may be experiencing increased depression and anxiety may have trouble focusing or engaging in classroom settings.


Teens who spend a good amount of time using social media apps are at risk of their grades suffering.


Conclusion


Social media can be a powerful tool for good. It has helped people connect and learn from one another when they would not have had the opportunity to do so previously. With all of the positives that come from these platforms, there is also a lot of bad that will inevitably follow.


Teens utilize social media perhaps the most out of any demographic, and due to the amount of time spent communicating this way, their mental health may decline for various reasons. Luckily, mental health services and awareness have become better throughout the last few decades, and there is help readily available for those who seek it.


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