Author: Carol Bright
We are living in a world dominated by the virtual emotions and activities. Just like adults, young people are also captivated by social media and spend much of their time surfing the streams of social networks, building new relationships, fostering old ones, and occasionally terminating them.
Young people come across unpleasant behavior, whether it’s targeted at them or someone else. They get a chance to develop crucial life skills by the way they react to inappropriate behavior.
However, there is an alarming statistic that social media is to blame for the increasing number of teens diagnosed with anxiety and depression.
While this may be true in some cases, it’s important to remember that social media is not the only factor that can contribute to mental illness. There are many other factors, such as environment, and lifestyle choices.
Let’s take a closer look at how social media can affect mental health and some tips that can help with the management.
The Mental Health Crisis Among Teens
There’s a growing body of evidence that suggests that excessive use of social media can lead to depression, anxiety, and even psychosis.
One study even showed that kids who spend more than five hours a day on social media, are more likely to suffer from mental health problems.
The studies further show that 20% of individuals with at least one social media account believe they must check their accounts at least once every three hours to prevent feeling anxious. This behavior according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, is called “social media anxiety disorder”.
This is worrying because, for many teenagers, social media is their primary source of communication. It’s where they get their news, hang out with friends, and share their thoughts and feelings.
The thing is, social media is designed to be addictive. It’s full of dopamine-boosting content that keeps you coming back for more. Most users are bombarded with the images of perfect lives, no wonder so many kids are struggling with their mental health.
It’s clear that we need to do something about this, and fast. We need to find a way to help young people socialize freely without depending on social media platforms.
The Dangers of Social Media Addiction
It’s no secret that social media can be addictive. But a lot of people don’t realize how overwhelming that addiction can be.
Studies have shown that social media can make teens mentally ill.
It’s not just emotional but physical too. The more time teens spend on social media, the more their brains change, and not for the better.
Excessive use of social media can cause teens to experience anxiety, depression, and even psychosis. The root of the problem is that social media creates a constant need for validation, and when teens don’t get the likes and comments they’re expecting, it leads to all sorts of mental health issues.
The part of the brain that is responsible for decision-making, critical thinking, and emotional regulation is called the prefrontal cortex. That is the part of the brain that gets smaller when a teen is addicted to social media.
How to Protect Your Teen from the Harmful Effects of Social Media?
You can not warn against the use of social media, it can’t be eradicated.
So what can we do about it?
Youngsters can be taught how to be productive with social media rather than using it to measure their success or influence their happiness.
Furthermore, kids can be taught how to manage their time on these applications.
Here are some tips that can help:
- Set limits on how much time your teen can spend on social media each day.
- Make sure your teen is engaged with positive and valuable content.
- Help your teen develop a strong sense of self-identity, so they don’t rely heavily on social media for validation.
It’s no surprise that excessive social media use can lead to anxiety, depression, and even psychosis. So if you’re noticing that you or your teen is struggling more than usual, it might be time to cut back on social media use.
There are plenty of other ways to connect with friends and family, so try to replace some of their social media time with those activities, and if you need help, don’t be afraid to ask for it.