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What Is The Impact Of Social Media On Teenagers Today?

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Have you ever noticed a teen or a high school kid use social media? In the 30 to 45 minutes they spend scrolling through social media in one sitting, you will notice them experience an entire roller coaster of emotions. They experience all the emotions from ecstatic, envious, heartbroken, furious, charmed, sad, anxious, obsessed, and even boredom in that short span of time.

An average teenager spends approximately 7 to 9 hours on the internet. Kid’s spend more than half of their day on social media. A study conducted on teenagers in the US revealed that an average teenager has at least three social media accounts. Sometimes on different social networking platforms and sometimes on the same.

The current trend of having “finstas” a fake Instagram account, has led to social media users, especially youngsters having 2 separate accounts on the platform. The main account and another fake account where you can be more real and open while being fake on the actual “main” account.

This is just one such example of the toxic environment that social media creates, Mainly in the life of young impressionable minds.

Lack Of Awareness

Over the past few years, there has been a lot of buzz surrounding the effect of the internet and technology on toddlers. About how the internet and our extremely digital world could hinder the developmental growth of toddlers. As studies show preschoolers today are way smarter than preschoolers of the past. They are picking new cognitive and social skills way faster than any of the past generations.

But, technology can hinder this growth.

What is equally important to this problem is the effect of the internet. Especially the effect social media is having on adolescents. There is not enough attention being paid to the impact of technology on teenagers.

Teens today are more intimately involved with technology and the internet, than a 4-year-old playing games on their mum’s phone. It about time we shine some light and bring awareness to this topic. 

Experts worry that social media is playing an integral role in lowering self-esteem and promoting depression and anxiety among teenagers. Recently more and more teens have come forward about the negative impact social media is having on their mental health.

A survey conducted by the Royal Society Od Public Health in the UK revealed that social media users in the age group of 14-24 believe that their social media habits are negatively impacting both their physical and mental health.

It also revealed that the top most used social media platforms, which are Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook are the biggest links between teens and mental health disorders. Let’s have a deeper look into this problem. 

Impact Of Social Media On Teens

Teenagers in line staring at their phones

Research has shown that social media has impacted the lives of teens in more ways than we could imagine. 2 out of 10 high schoolers in the US linked their depression, loneliness, and anxiety disorders to social media. But, what’s the reason behind this?

Social Displacement

This is one of the biggest effects of social media. Social displacement refers to the problem of spending so m much time online on the internet, that it takes away from your “real-life” time. Experts believe that with each passing day, the more time we spend on social media, the more socially displaced we are getting. This is especially true for the younger generation.

Teens in the age group of 13 – 18 are more likely to spend more time on their phones in a day than they would spend off of it. This not only affects their attention span and memory but also their academics and real-life relationships. 

This problem is not only common among teenagers but among social media users of all ages. We are so engrossed in our busy day yo day life, that we don’t realize the unhealthy amount of time we spend on social media.

Plus, how it is impacting all aspects of our lives. 

Indirect Communication

Kids today are masters of keeping themself occupied at all times. Be it when they’re studying or not studying, they are always on the phone texting, snapping, posting, sharing, and liking. No matter what time of the day it is, if they’re awake, the probability of them being online is higher than the probability of them not being online. Of course, back in the day, before the existence of social media, teens would still keep themselves busy.

But, back then most of the time spent would be through chatting on the phone or meeting up with friends at the mall.

Now, this is no longer the case. 

As human beings, we act on social cues. But, interacting through social media takes away all these cues. You don’t get to see the other person’s body language, facial expressions, and even the smallest kind of vocal reactions. As communicating on social media is indirect communication, all of this is absent.

By doing most of their communication through a screen, kids today miss out on important social skills.


When highschoolers in the UK were asked about the biggest way in which social media impacted their mental health, the most common answer received was cyberbullying.

This is a side effect of indirect communication.

Being able to communicate through a screen without being held accountable for what they say, has made the younger generation, less empathetic and more cruel.

Kids today say things on the internet that they otherwise wouldn’t dream of saying in real life to anyone’s face. 

Cyberbullying has led to some devastating results in the recent past. With an increase in the number of teen suicides being one of them. Schools globally have made efforts to bring in more awareness amongst kids regarding this topic.

But, with how engrossed teens today are in social media, trolling and cyberbullying don’t seem to be stopping anytime soon. This is extremely harmful and causes irreparable damage to one’s self-esteem and happiness. 

Imposter Syndrome

Imposter Syndrome is a psychological pattern in which a person feels they have only succeeded due to luck and good timing, and not because of their talent and efforts. It can involve a constant fear of exposure, as well as feelings of isolation and rejection.

It is also linked to multiple other feelings such as self-doubt, fear of success, fear of failure, and self-sabotage.

In the early days, impostorism was diagnosed mainly in women, in male-dominated societies. However more recently, it is a psychological problem that has been detected in people of all ages and genders. But, recently it has been most common in teens.

Experts believe social media is to be blamed for this. The lack of confidence, self-esteem, and the increasing self-doubt that social media creates in one’s mind is the root cause of imposter syndrome among teens and young adults. 

These are just a few ways in which social media is affecting the lives of teenagers. Of course social media isn’t all negativity and toxicity. If used in moderation, these many social media platforms can be of great help to young adults.

Especially to help them with their career, goals, and relationships.

Are you worried about their social media usage?

Have a chat with them.

Talk about how to have a healthy relationship with social media and not let it affect your mental or physical health in a negative way. It is impossible to keep kids away from social media today. Instead, you can do your best to ensure that your offsprings are using the internet in a safe way.

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