The development of modern technologies marked new opportunities for people to connect with their friends and relatives and even make new connections through social media. However, with the significant increase in the number of teenage and adolescent depression cases in the last years, society now faces the problem of the negative influence of social media on the Generation Z demographic. Depression is not the only possible outcome, as many teenagers are now experiencing problems with self-confidence and complexes with their appearance from the excess use of social media. The excess use of social media negatively influences teenagers’ mental health. This essay is purposed to explain the aspects in which excessive use of social media affects teenagers’ mental health and why it is important for teenagers to use social media in moderate amounts.
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While the majority connects the negative influence of social media with forced unrealistic standards favored in the online space, one of the aspects in which social media negatively affects teenagers is the lack of sleep. During the teenage years, when the brain is subjected to different effects caused by an increased level of hormones, night sleep is the only time the brain can rest. When a teenager’s sleep is interrupted by messages on social media, the brain does not fully recover by the next morning, resulting in slowed thought processes and stress (Abi Jaoude et al. 138). According to studies, the problematic effects of the use of social media become apparent when teenagers spend more than two hours a day on social media (Abi Jaoude et al. 139). Therefore, teenagers must maintain control over time spent on social media to ensure that they get enough sleep and that social media does not affect their academic performance.
Next, as social media constitute a part of the online space, it is deeply affected by the negative climate caused by the anonymity features. Anonymity allows people to spread negativity without being punished for their hateful actions. Therefore, teenagers on social media are often subjected to online bullying, which significantly worsens their self-esteem and could cause anxiety in cases where the source of the bullying is unknown. In cases with teenagers who already experience mental health struggles, cyberbullying could result in dramatic negative outcomes (Abi Jaoude et al. 138). As changes start with yourself, it is recommended to stay away from expressing negativity online and inform close ones about the negative effects of the toxic climate in online spaces to stop the problem of cyberbullying.
Finally, coming back to the topic of unrealistic standards of beauty and lifestyle imposed by social media, they substantially harm teenagers with undeveloped senses of confidence and self-worth. According to Abi Jaoude et al., teenagers’ sensitivity to the number of likes received under their selfie photos could be connected to their sense of purpose in life and life satisfaction (138). In this aspect, teenagers are recommended to spend more time connecting with their friends in real-life and encourage others to limit the use of social media.
In conclusion, this essay explored the aspects in which social media negatively influenced the mental health of teenagers and provided vital recommendations that would help teenagers avoid the harmful influence of social media. Overall, teenagers are recommended to maintain control of their time on social media and balance online connections and real-life communication. It also is important to understand that mental health and physical aspects are closely connected, and therefore getting a sufficient amount of sleep should be prioritized over browsing social media.
Abi-Jaoude, Elia, et al. “Smartphones, Social Media Use and Youth Mental Health.” Canadian Medical Association Journal, vol. 192, no. 6, 2020, pp. 136-141, Web.