Is Social Media Affecting Your Teen's Mood?
Social media is a powerful tool that has changed the way we communicate and engage with each other. For teens, social networking helps broaden their connections while also giving them a sense of independence. In some cases, recent studies conducted by social media platforms report teens having both positive and negative experiences with social media. That being said, many parents are more concerned about the negative effects social media is having on their children — and with good reason.
The reality is, all of us are affected by social media in some way or another, but in recent months especially, there has been a strong correlation found between an increased use of social media and decreased moods for teens. Today, our teen mental health specialists at Innerspace Counseling in Old Bridge will explore four ways your teen's mood may be affected by too much time spent on social media.
Difficulty Communicating or Expressing Themselves
The first way that social media may be affecting your teen's mood is by decreasing their overall communication skills. When we're constantly communicating through a screen, we're not learning how to effectively have face-to-face conversations. This can lead to problems when your teen has to communicate with people in the real world. They may struggle with making eye contact, carrying on a conversation, or even understanding body language, all of which may lead to low self-esteem and anxiety.
Constantly Comparing Themselves To Others
Social media may also be affecting your teen's mood by causing them to compare themselves to others, and to even become envious of their peers. Teens often see photos or highlight reels of other people's lives and start to feel like they're not good enough. While jealousy and envy are completely normal emotions, they can also negatively affect a teenager’s brain when they are constantly comparing themselves to others. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy, depression, and low self-esteem. Additionally, teens may start to feel like they need to have the perfect life in order to be accepted by their peers.
Separation and Isolation
Another way social media may be affecting your teen's mood is by causing them to isolate themselves and separate from others. When we're constantly online, we're not spending time with our friends and family. This can create a wedge between your teen and the people they care about most, which may only make them feel worse and more alone in the long run.
Reduced Focus and Productivity
Social media may also be affecting your teen's mood by causing them to lose track of time. Most of us have experienced the never-ending scroll and the sudden realization that an hour or more has passed since we opened up Facebook. When we're on our phones or devices constantly without setting boundaries, it's hard for us to tell how much time we're spending online. This can lead to trouble focusing and decreased productivity throughout the day.
All of us are affected by social media in some way or another, but too much time spent online can be bad for your teen. It's important for parents to be aware of the ways that social media can affect their children so they can take steps to counteract any negative effects.
When it comes to your teen and social media, vigilance is key, as is fostering healthy lines of communication with them. If you're concerned about how social media is affecting your teen, talk to them about it. Let them know you're there to listen and help them out. Additionally, set some ground rules for how much time they can spend online each day. Finally, learn about all the resources and options available to you and your child to help them live a happy, healthy life.
Connect with our team of teen mental health specialists today to learn more about our adolescent IOP/PHP services and counseling programs for parents in Old Bridge. At Innerspace Counseling, we’re here to support you and your child to help you both thrive. Schedule a consultation today.