How Social Media Affects Teen Mental Health

Social media has become a tool of constant interaction between people all over the world, and in younger generations it has even become a fundamental extension of their social lives. These digital platforms are really useful in many ways, but they can also bring out unwanted psychological phenomena to be taken into account, especially in children and adolescents.

Today, more and more young people are constantly using these virtual spaces, and that is precisely why it is necessary. Understand how social media affects adolescent mental health.

    Here’s how social media can affect teen mental health

    First of all, it is necessary to clarify that there is no determining formula according to which the use of social networks must necessarily produce harmful psychological effects; it all depends on how users use these tools. However, in practice, it is observed that the younger segment of the population is particularly vulnerable to a number of psychological disorders facilitated by the misuse of these Internet spaces. Let’s see what they are.

    1. Group Pressure

    As with most areas of adolescence, the world of social media often puts a lot of pressure on teens, which is often overlooked by parents and educators.

    Access to social media is happening at an increasingly early age based on “the fear of losing what others are doing”, and it often happens that the group of friends interacting in a certain social network often puts a lot of pressure on the person who does not participate in it. Teenagers who are not interested in using these digital platforms feel left out, until they reach a point where they feel the need to start using them so they don’t get left out of the group of friends.

    This type of group pressure can lead to alterations related to low self-esteem, since these young people feel ignored and even experience behaviors that do not correspond to their personality. as long as you have the right visibility on this digital medium.

      2. Psychological consequences of cyberbullying

      Cyberbullying is the term known for harassment that occurs on the internet and can occur on any type of social media or application that is normally accessed today.

      This type of harassment is one of the most recent forms of discrimination and psychological violence that exists due to the rise of new technologies, which allow young people to have high visibility and even they make possible coordinated harassment attacks involving dozens of people.

      Bullying on social networks has the same devastating effect on the person who experiences it as traditional bullying, but is characterized by the fact that it is more difficult to detect by both parents and teachers.

        3. Social isolation in face-to-face relationships

        For some teens who are bullied at school or who don’t have positive in-person relationships with their peers, social media can also seriously affect their mental health. internalize the idea that such relationships can replace face-to-face relationships.

        To avoid this situation, it is essential that parents monitor their children’s activity on the Internet and social media, so that they are not emotionally affected by the harassment or emptiness that other people may cause.

        4. Low self-esteem

        Low self-esteem is one of the classic emotional issues of adolescence, and overuse of social media can also have the same effect. Specifically, girls seem more likely to develop complexes with their own bodies due to the constant appreciation of the idealized image of influencers.

        This phenomenon represents a real danger for the mental and physical health of very young girls whose emotional and self-esteem problems can end up leading, in extreme cases, to eating disorders.

        In this sense, it should also be noted that some social networks contain communities of users who extol behaviors associated with anorexia, bulimia and megarexia, promote unhealthy lifestyles and diets, or offer simply a constant bombardment of unrealistic models of very thin men and women. women or those with very little body fat.

          5. Political polarization

          As we have known for some years, some social networks encourage political polarization and the division of opinions to have more interactions between its users.

          This phenomenon can also affect the psychological and mental health of adolescents who use this type of social media, people who have not yet fully formed their personality and who they can have a big influence on political radicalization and hate speech.

          6. Constant use of social media due to an addiction process

          Many adolescents are at risk of developing addictive-type behaviors: they feel the need to always be “glued to the screen”. This is largely due to the skill with which social media algorithms deliver an uninterrupted stream of curated content taking into account each person’s preferences, which is a constant distraction.

            7. The main positive side of networks: assertiveness based on diversity

            Social media can also help teens discover new hobbies that positively affect their mental health or help them develop their adult personality.

            Used well, these networks can have a very positive effect on the teenager, and in many cases are an element of socialization or learning large amounts of knowledge. Specifically, These digital platforms have proven to be particularly useful for young LGBT people they do not have access to other people with the same concerns and experience in their immediate environment.

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