Social media is no longer in its nascent period. Social media companies’ products now permeate nearly every facet of modern life. And while the benefits of these platforms may be numerous, there may also be some detrimental considerations.
This is especially true for mental health in teenagers. These young adults are simultaneously still learning to navigate emotionally fraught moments and are also more regular users of these platforms. With mental health problems growing globally at a rate of about 13%, per the World Health Organization, it begs the question. Are social media and mental health correlated?
So what are the social media effects on mental health in teen girls? And is there a cause for alarm? Read on to learn more about the benefits and negative effects of social media engagement for teens.
The Positive Impact of Social Media
Many teens enjoy a social media platform not as an escape from their social life but as an extension of it. This could include myriad benefits, such as:
- Feeling connected to their friends and family while not face-to-face
- Meeting other young people
- Joining and maintaining their place in a community
- Sharing aspects of their lives with peers and/or strangers
- Discovering new aspects of themself
It’s easy to vilify new technologies or cultural shifts. But it is also important to remember that not all online interactions result in negative impacts.
The Effects of Social Media Teens’ Mental Health
In a scientific article published by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, the effects are clear. Numerous correlations are made between social media use and poor mental and physical outcomes. This includes:
- Poor sleep patterns,
- Depression, and
The above examples are based on a limited set of research data. But they do share a window into the reality of a teenager’s life online.
Imagine engaging with a loaded interaction right up until bedtime. Then, as a result, imagine sleeping poorly or experiencing anxiety and depression the next day. It is easy to imagine a reality in which this becomes a vicious cycle.
One can also imagine a relationship between the kind of content one sees online and the pressure to conform to societal norms. Young girls have had to deal with this for generations. This is thanks to the pressures of advertising, media, and the feminine beauty ideal. But that has been in moments when they were engaging with our culture as consumers.
With social media, it is no longer just in advertising, fashion, or media that teenage girls have to grapple with. Instead, even simple social interactions might inspire feelings of envy or frustration with their own life satisfaction.
So, “Is social media bad for mental health?” While social psychologists continue to study this cultural shift, there is no denying today’s teens are potentially at risk.
There are countless examples of how social media can harm a teen girl’s mental health. But there are also countless means to help mitigate that harm. Counseling is a reliable way to help navigate the journey toward positive mental health in today’s complicated media climate. Learn more about Empowered Connections’ counseling for teen girls & young girls.