Nov 15, 2021

Social Media Impact on Teens

You’ve probably heard people preach about how social media can be damaging to young people. But sometimes, just scrolling through the pages, viewing people’s posts, and seeing what’s going on in other people’s lives can be so relaxing and fun, right? 

So you wonder, will social media eventually affect my mental health just as experts say? How exactly does it affect me as a teen? And do I have to stay off Snapchat and Instagram to avoid it? 

Well, let’s see. 


How does social media impact teen health?

Studies show that the longer time a person spends on social media, the more likely it is for them to experience mental health challenges such as anxiety, isolation, and hopelessness. Emphasis on “longer,” but we’ll come to that. 

You see, that can be said for everybody, but here’s why it can be particularly evident in teens. 

You see, you’re young, still getting to understand the world and the people in it. And on social media, you get to see people who apparently live the “good life” — magazine cover-worthy body, looking extremely happy with happy friends around them and hundreds of likes, friends, or followers. You may find yourself making comparisons if you’ll ever be as cool as these people. 

And right then, feelings of anxiety and negativity may start developing. 

This is even more worrisome if you have social anxiety and find social media as a means to escape face-to-face interactions. You’ll tend to spend more time online as opposed to engaging in the world healthily. 

And as you now know, spending more time online is where the real damage is to mental health. Social media becomes the only place you feel safe, making you more averse to talking to people on the ground. Face-to-face interaction wouldn’t feel natural anymore. You start feeling isolated. 

So, does that mean you should completely stay off social media as a teen? 

Definitely not! 


Leverage social media to your advantage

Social media has become too far-reaching for anyone to avoid. It’s unrealistic for anyone to expect you to avoid it. As it comes with its disadvantages (impacting mental health due to excessive usage), it also offers some benefits (more exposure and more time to interact with those out of physical reach). 

The secret to safe social media use is to be pre-informed of the downsides and upsides. 

Know that not everybody you see well-dressed and smiling on social media is truly happy within. And not all with 1k followers have up to as many good friends on the ground. 

Social media is a place where everyone and anyone can put on a show. You’ll definitely come across such posts on your timeline, so it would help if you didn’t let them get to you to the point of comparison. 


Helpful tips for safe social media use for teens

Who you follow matters. 


People/Pages that offer a balanced view on life. Look to people who do not address social issues with bias but consider deep points. Don’t follow people who believe only wearing nice clothes and hanging out with friends is what brings happiness. 

People/Pages that support and promote diversity. Following those who talk down on your kind of person or extol only those things of which you do not feel included, you’ll tend to feel bad about yourself. Those who promote diversity give you a sense of belonging, which is key to good mental health. 

Professional mental health pages for wellbeing information and inspiration. 

Also, Join:

Groups where you feel safe and supported;

Causes you’re passionate about;

Pages where members are supported to share their stories.

If you’re into art, join an online art group/community. Such online communities give you an avenue to be actively involved. Sharing your stories with people of like minds who appreciate your input will make you feel alive and good about yourself. 

As a teen, social media offers you a way to expose yourself to things, discussions, happenings, and knowledge that may not be readily available near you. You just need to be mindful so you can sift out the irrelevant ones that can negatively impact your health. 

And remember, social media should enhance socializing with friends, not replace it. Go out to interact face-to-face with your buddies and even strangers just as you would on a social platform. 

Take a social media break from time to time, so it doesn’t become the only world you know. Again, too much social media is where the damage begins.

And be selective about what to post. Not everything should be for all eyes.


If you feel like you need a neutral adult to listen and coach you through some teenage challenges or struggles, send us an email at to arrange a FREE consultation with our Teen Coach.

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