According to a recent advisory from the U.S. Surgeon General, the influence of social media on adolescent mental health is a rising concern. This advisory critically explores the current evidence on social media’s positive and negative impacts on children and adolescents.
At Promont Wellness, we support individuals on their journey of recovery through holistic treatment methods designed to promont mental and physical health and emotional well-being. Our alternative and traditional treatment methods promote realistic goals and sustainable recovery methods.
Promont Wellness is an outpatient rehab in Philadelphia that offers comprehensive treatment. To learn more about how social media affects mental health, speak with a treatment coordinator at Promont Wellness today.
The Prevalence and Effects of Social Media Use Among Adolescents
It is nearly ubiquitous for young people to use social media today. As much as 95% of youth between the ages of 13 and 17 report using a social media platform, with over a third asserting they use social media “almost constantly.” Despite the widespread use among children and adolescents, robust independent safety analyses on the impact of social media on young people have yet to be conducted, nor are there proper laws and safety measures in place to filter illicit and harmful information.
Social media use not only affects youth mental health by influencing how they view, maintain, and interact with their social network, but it can also profoundly impact their self-esteem and body image. Near-constant exposure to carefully created online identities can make individuals compare themselves unfavorably and feel pressured to conform to unrealistic standards. Additionally, the addictive nature of social media can contribute to feelings of anxiety and depression, as users may find themselves constantly seeking validation through likes and comments.
The Double-Edged Sword: The Potential Benefits and Harms of Social Media Use
Several complex factors shape the influence of social media on youth mental health. The amount of time adolescents spend on platforms, the type of content they consume, and their interactions on social media all play a role in shaping their mental health.
The Potential Benefits of Social Media Use Among Adolescents
Social media can benefit some youth by offering a sense of community and connection with others with similar identities, abilities, and interests. It can provide access to critical information and create a space for self-expression. The ability to form and maintain friendships online and develop social connections are among the positive effects of social media use for youth.
Youth must be mindful of their social media consumption and take regular breaks to prioritize their mental well-being. Furthermore, promoting positive interactions and supportive communities online can help counteract the adverse effects of social media on mental health.
The Potential Harms of Social Media Use Among Adolescents
On the flip side, evidence has emerged over the last decade identifying reasons for concern about the potential negative impact of social media on children and adolescents. Adolescents who spend more than 3 hours per day on social media face double the risk of experiencing poor mental health outcomes, including symptoms of depression and anxiety. Additionally, certain types of content exposure and excessive use of social media can pose significant risks to adolescent mental health, promote risky behavior, and encourage illicit activities.
The Role of Guardians and Youth in Managing Social Media Use
Parents and caregivers also have a vital role in helping protect and support children and adolescents against the risk of harm from social media. They can create a family media plan to establish healthy technology boundaries at home, model responsible social media behavior, teach kids about technology and report cyberbullying and online abuse and exploitation.
Children and adolescents can also take measures to navigate social media safely and healthily. They can reach out for help if they or someone they know is being negatively affected by social media, create boundaries to balance online and offline activities, develop protective strategies and healthy practices for their own social media use, and protect themselves and others from cyberbullying or other forms of online harassment and abuse.
Promont Wellness Can Help
Promont Wellness is a Bucks County drug rehab center that promotes personal well-being and health through tailored treatment plans and holistic therapies. Our comprehensive center supports adolescent and adult clients with multiple mental health concerns, including addiction, anxiety, depression, trauma, and dual-diagnosis mental health concerns. To learn more about the Philadelphia IOP options available at Promont Wellness, reach out to a treatment coordinator today to see how we can help you or your loved one achieve sustainable recovery.