Social Media and Teenagers

Table of Content

As we all know technology and social media have become a big part of all our lives. A huge percentage of the people using this technology and on these social media applications are our youth. Have you thought about all the time our kids and teenagers spend using technology, whether for fun, educational, and social purposes? What type of adverse effects does technology and social media have on them? What kind of impact does it have on their lives now and what type of long term problems can it cause, if any, and how severe can they be? What benefits are there for an adolescent growing up with all these connections as opposed to the generations before them? I want to focus on mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, the differences in the effects on boys versus girls, disconnections from in person communication, cyberstalking and bullying, how their school lives are impacted, and how family lives are impacted.

Mental Health

Social media can affect the mental health of teens. The level of effect, according to research, seems to go up as teens’ use goes up. Their level of contentment can decrease, and their likelihood of getting into trouble or being depressed can increase (Rideout, 2010). Also, teens who use Facebook tend to be more narcissistic, antisocial, and aggressive (Rosen, 2011). These applications need to be monitored and limited by parents as well as parents need to stay aware of their child’s mental well-being. These sites when overused by impressionable youth that at these ages are so vulnerable can make problems for themselves unknowingly.

This essay could be plagiarized. Get your custom essay
“Dirty Pretty Things” Acts of Desperation: The State of Being Desperate
128 writers

ready to help you now

Get original paper

Without paying upfront

The very definition of “social” media may be misleading, according to experts who are finding that the more time teens spend on social media, the lonelier and more anxious they are. There is a link between technology usage and lower satisfaction with life, according to Jacob Barkley, professor of health sciences at Kent State University. “Interaction on social media is not beneficial. It’s electronic,” explains Barkley, who has been studying smartphone use and students since 2013. The higher the cellphone use, the more time spent on social media, and the higher the anxiety. Peer relationships get worse the more you use your phone. I have known adult aged people who have said that the constant connection and comparisons of people through social media sites has made their anxiety and depression heightened as they grow older in life. Looking in from the window of technology has given them feelings of depression due to not “living up to” what today’s standards of society have.

Jean Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State University, reached similar conclusions in 2017. In her study, Twenge discovered that students who spend more time using smartphones and other electronic devices are less satisfied with their lives than students who frequently engage in face-to-face interaction. “We found that teens who spent five or more hours a day online were 71 percent more likely than those who spent less than an hour a day to have at least one suicide risk factor depression, thinking about suicide, making a suicide plan or attempting suicide. Overall, suicide risk factors rose significantly after two or more hours a day of time online,” Twenge wrote in 2017. ( Barrett, Kira 2018) Again parents need to really monitor their children’s lives in and out of the technology they use. In generations prior the pastimes for children and teens were so different than today. More time was spent with family and friends in real personal face to face interactions. Today they have a whole life in another world called the internet that can really start to shape and affect a person in either a positive or negative way, of course depending on the person.

Education and School

Students have always faced distractions and time-wasters. Computers and cellphones and the constant stream of stimuli they offer pose a real challenge to focusing and learning. With things that are more interesting to youth being so close to their fingertips all the time the obligations they have in life can be pushed backwards because they have something else occupying their time. This can be good or bad depending on how it’s used or if it used for a positive rather than negative purpose. Applications are changing and there are so many update educational applications that are made to look like games and made fun even though they are in fact educational and not time wasting. Researchers say the effects these technologies, while it affects adults too, is particularly powerful for young people. (Doyne, Shannon and Ojalvo, Holly, 2007)

Although many parents may be worried that the rise of social media is distracting children from their studies new research says that using sites such as Snapchat, Facebook, or Instagram has a minimal effect on academic performance. Meaning that some are negatively affected, and some are not depending on so many other factors in a teens life. Real determining factors are the lives and mental wellbeing’s of these adolescents. ‘There are several contradictory single studies on this subject and this has made it difficult previously to properly assess all results,’ explained co-author Caroline Marker says. Although some studies report that social media has a negative impact on school performance, others show a positive influence, while some have failed to find any relationship at all. (Star Online, 2018) Researchers found that as they had expected, students who used social media intensively to communicate to their peers about school-related topics tended to have slightly higher, not lower grades. They found that those who were very active on social media did not spend less time studying. The ones who used social networking sites more, posts a lot messages and pictures, did have slightly lower grades, but the negative effect is very small.


Teenagers have felt a need to fit in with their peer groups long before social media was even a thought, but technology magnifies the problem in a powerful way. Most people want to show off when posting online they will only post their good times with friends and family people generally don’t post the struggles and bad times throughout life. This gives adolescents a false sense of life and can make a youth hard on themselves trying to achieve a sort of life perfection that is nearly impossible to achieve.

The teen years are a hard time in life and social networks can be places for teens to turn to for support and advice when going through challenging experiences. It also provides an opportunity for teens to connect with others who share a similar interest. Social media sites can provide a place for adolescents to share their interests in music and arts.

Adolescents who use Facebook have been shown to demonstrate more “virtual empathy” (Rosen, 2011). Social networking can be a positive and somewhat easier way for adolescents to get to know and become accepting of others from “diverse backgrounds” As well as providing social support, social media sites can also provide medical support. Adolescents can easily and anonymously seek medical advice (Clark-Pearson, O’Keeffe, 2011). Because teenagers often rely on social media to stay in touch, they don’t have many real interactions with others. This isolation can prevent them from learning the critical social skills that they will need in life. ( Nalin, Jeff, 2017)


Even though social media isn’t only used for social interaction, it is an important aspect of adolescents’ lives. Social media provides an avenue for them to stay connected with peers they have met through school, sports teams, church, etc . Social networking can also help shy adolescents have a more non-threatening way to interact with peers because they aren’t interacting face-to-face (Rosen, 2011).

Children and adolescents can impact their communities and even the world in amazing ways. Social media provides them a variety of ways to go about making positive change. Some examples are implementing fundraising campaigns and getting involved in political events. (Clark-Pearson, O’Keeffe, 2011).

Cyberstalking and Bullying

Many forms of cyberbullying are also a problem and can lead to the victims experiencing depression and anxiety. Cyberbullying has also been the cause of many suicides in young people (Kowalski, 2009). It is bad enough that there are adolescents who are victims of negative comments by peers, but many are victimized by strangers as well. Many young online users are lured by online sexual predators (Ybarra, 2007).

Social media allows teenagers to communicate with all of their friends at the touch of a button, and this ability takes bullying to a new level. Without much effort, teens can reveal each other’s secrets or spread false information online, and the results can be devastating. In the worst cases of cyberbullying, a teenager’s reputation can be destroyed in a matter of hours, and the social fallout can push him or her to commit suicide. (Nalin, Jeff, 2017)

In conclusion there seems to be an even number of good and bad things that can come out of a world full of technology and social media. Some adolescents use these advances in technology to help while with others it seems to cause harm. Using it for education and connections is a good thing in moderation as with anything else, too much of a good thing is usually not good for anyone. The social media has grown so much in recent years that there is still a lot to be learned about how and why it effects our youth in the ways it does. Why it can make one person excel and can lead another into serious depression all lies within the person. So many factors come into play that it’s hard to establish what is “good” and what is “bad”. In the years to come we will learn a lot more about the long-term effects whether good or bad this technology can have on a generation. The adolescents this technology and social media wave this has hit hardest are still just children, teenagers, and young adults once they grow into more mature older adults and there is more research for longer periods of time then psychologists will know so much more.

Cite this page

Social Media and Teenagers. (2022, Jun 10). Retrieved from

Remember! This essay was written by a student

You can get a custom paper by one of our expert writers

Order custom paper Without paying upfront