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Impact of Social Media on Youth

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Did you know, according to an article published in the JAMA Psychiatry Journal, teenagers who spend over 3 hours each day on social media platforms may be at a huge risk of developing mental health issues?

Most teenagers today rely on their online identities to define themselves, and for good reason. However, while social media has given a voice to many, unfortunately, it has also caused an uproar in society about its possible repercussions for the youth’s state of mind.

What Do the Statistics Say?

According to a 2018 survey by the PEW Research Center, there are six dominant forms of abusive behaviors that one in six teenagers goes through when they’re online. They include:

  • Spreading false rumors
  • Name-calling
  • Explicit images shared without consent
  • Explicit images received without consent
  • Physical threats
  • Getting tracked by someone other than parents

How Does Social Media Harm?

Several studies have linked high social media usage with elevated symptoms of anxiety and depression. For example, a study with 450 teenagers conducted in 2016 found out that those extremely emotionally invested in social media platforms tend to experience difficulty sleeping and higher levels of depression and anxiety.

Again, it doesn’t require much to understand that social media does tend to create unrealistic expectations among individuals, especially when it comes to attaining goals or leading a certain lifestyle.

Is Your Teen In Trouble?

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Remember, while it’s not possible to eliminate social media from one’s life completely, it is possible to set certain limits when it comes to using it.

  • Make sure that your teen gets the right balance of sleep, meals, and physical activities alongside their social media habits.
  • Talk to them about what’s okay and what’s not okay. Parents often hesitate to bring the subject up, but the only way to protect your teen from instances of bullying, harassment, and rumors, etc., is to let them know what’s appropriate when it comes to sharing content online.

The Bottom Line

In the end, it’s crucial to keep tabs on your teenager’s mental health. Especially in this day and age, where they can easily become prey to instances of cyberbullying and harassment.

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