Do you know what is extremely important for parents and teenagers? To know that social media — despite its popularity — can have some harmful effects on all of us. More so, when it comes to teenagers in the 21st century.
As per a geographically diverse survey of high school teens conducted in 2021, it was identified that Snapchat is the most loved and used social media platform by teens, followed by TikTok and Instagram. Notably, Instagram has the highest monthly usage as compared to Snapchat and TikTok.
Social media has become an essential part of a teenager’s life, especially those within the age group of 13-17.
In 2019, 41% of teens confessed how much they enjoy using social media, but in 2021 the percentage declined to 34%. This is a positive sign as social media can have adverse impact on teenagers.
We identify some of the main reasons teenagers should limit their time on social media.
10 ways in which social media affects teenagers
Social media does not only impact one particular part or sense of a teenager but it impacts the whole upcoming life of a teenager and his family. Let us see how:
1. Detrimental to mental health
Mental health refers to your psychological, emotional, and social well-being. Excess use of social media can affect how teens think, respond, and work. According to an article in Health Matters, the average age at which a child opens a social media account is 12 and a half.
When a teenager has the tendency to spend more time online, it results in them spending lesser time interacting with their peer in real life. According to a Pew Research study, when teenagers spend more than 3 to 6 hours or even more online, this restricts the time they could have spent in a more social setting that is essential to developmental growth. For instance, they could instead have spent that time in school or extracurricular activities.
2. Disruption of focus
With the rise in online modes of learning, a lot of research focuses on the impact of screen time on focus among children and teenagers. One study followed 2,500 high-schoolers in Los Angeles for two years. According to their research, excessive screen time was closely linked to the symptoms of ADHD.
Additionally, excessive screen time was seen to have negatively impacted the attention span as well as cognitive development among people (Carson & Janssen, 2012).
3. Disturbed sleep
The most common issue that teenagers face is disturbed sleeping patterns due to excessive use of social media. As per a study by the University of Glasgow, the more there is a use of social media by adolescents, the more likely they fall asleep alter and often wake up during the night.
Not only adults, but teenagers also suffer from insomnia which is due to the blue light emitted by smartphones. It further leads to a lack of sleep and lack of focus.
Waking up tired will eventually result in disruption of focus and teens will not be able to complete their tasks on time.
According to SCL Health, electronic devices should be shut off at least 30 minutes before bed to eliminate blue light emissions.
“We are a sad generation with happy pictures”. The most appropriate quote of all time. This is what the current scenario looks like.
According to a study, about 48% of teenagers who spend 5 hours a day on the screen have at least one suicide risk factor. This is worrisome compared to the 33% of teenagers who would have a suicide risk factor when they two hours a day on an electronic device.
Social media has created a “culture of comparison”, which has left many students with the feeling that they will never be enough. This has created anxiety among the youth.
A study suggests that teenagers now face pressure from social media because they revolve around the problems closely associated with social standing and self-expression.
The feeling of jealousy and envy often ruins relationships. These two feelings can wreak havoc on teen brains if they start comparing themselves with others on social media. This happens because most people post about the best moments of their lives which can lead to jealousy for other people.
Teens are more likely to fall under this category as they tend to think that their lives are not as exciting as other people’s.
7. Communication issues
With the advancement in social media platforms, teens are not as comfortable with face-to-face communication with their family and friends. This often leads to misunderstandings as the tone of the person is not always clear while communicating through calls or messages.
This also results in teens having relationships that are not authentic or deep.
8. Loss of privacy
Internet is not at all safe! At their age, it is difficult for teenagers to understand the impact of posting everything about their personal lives. Several incidents suggest that oversharing personal details or chatting with strangers can lead teens to be victims of harassment.
It is always advisable to keep accounts private and not share details of one’s whereabouts on a regular basis.
Read more: What Should You Not Share on Social Media
We have all heard about cyberbullying and for those who haven’t, cyberbullying is a type of bullying or harassment also known as online bullying using electronic means.
Cyberbullying is known to be the most negative influence of social media. For instance, anyone can post negative comments or stories about you which can lead to other social media effects on teenagers.
These effects can be:
- Low self-esteem
- Social anxiety and much more
10. Addiction to social media
Addiction to social media leads to less creativity or no creativity at all which further makes coming days dull and unproductive. Instead of using their free time being creative, teens are spending more time on screen that impairs their vision and mental health.
Teens’ parents and families must understand that they need to set some guidelines for their children. Parents can start doing so by setting up a time allowance for their children to use their phones and social media. It is also important to keep a check on the teenager’s daily online activities and ask them if they need any sort of help.
If parents start keeping a regular check on their kids, chances are that social media can also turn out to be a useful platform for teenagers.
We know that social media affects teenagers in the 21st century in many ways. With some effort and guidelines, we can make it useful for teenagers to be online instead of it being a detterent.