Social media and technology have a large presence and impact on modern society. About 40 percent of the world or 3 billion people use social media for communication. Teenagers in this day and age have not been able to experience a world where social media does not exist. Surveys show that 90 percent of teens between the ages of 13 and 17 have used social media. Social media has a profound impact on the lives of teenagers at a pivotal point in their lives. While social media may have some benefits, it is very harmful for teenagers’ communication skills, stress levels, and mental health.
As adolescents are constantly using Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter to communicate, they miss out on the opportunity to communicate with others face-to-face. People do not need to respond to non-verbal and emotional cues when they use social media to communicate which leads to less experience and awareness of others’ needs (Lewison). These social cues can only be received and addressed in face-to-face communication. Teenagers also can quickly become bored during in-person conversations due to the need for the instant and colorful feedback that social media can give. This decreases the number and quality of in-person interactions. The lack of face-to-face communication that teenagers experience today can have a great impact on their futures, especially when they will need to rely on their communication skills in professional interactions.
Teens are frequent users of social media due to its appealing and addictive nature. They seem to have a constant craving in which the more they get, the more they want. Teenagers are often stressed because of the demands of the many commitments they have including school and other extracurriculars. They feel as if they do not have enough hours in the day to complete everything they need to get done when, in reality, a good portion of their time was spent on social media. Furthermore, when teenagers are faced with stress, they commonly choose to escape by scrolling through social media which is where the stress originated in the first place (“Social Media Stress Can Lead to Social Media Addiction”). Teenagers devote a detrimental amount of time on social media which keeps getting worse due to increased addiction.
Social media also affects the mental health of many teens as they often compare themselves to others on social media and receive hateful comments. As teens scroll through their social media feeds, they often see manipulated images that cause personal insecurities. Even though it is easy to remember that people edit their images and tend to share just the highlights of their lives, the feelings of dissatisfaction and envy do not diminish (Robinson). The dissatisfactory feelings can also correlate to depression and anxiety. Teenagers can also experience cyberbullying. About 10 percent of teens report that they have been bullied on social media. Teens can receive hurtful comments and posts that can scar them emotionally and affect their mental wellbeing greatly.
Teenagers today are living in a society that is largely based on technology. They frequently feel the pressure to use social media for communication which can cause a myriad of issues. Teenagers miss out on opportunities to develop their communication skills through face-to-face communication. They also experience a large amount of stress due to their addiction to social media. The mental health of teenagers is deteriorating as they regularly see superficial posts and hateful comments. It will be interesting to see how the constant use of social media will affect the current generation of adolescents as they are the first generation to grow up where the constant use of technology and social media is the norm.
Lewison, Kiera. “Social Media Effects on Communication.” University of the People, 7 Jan. 2021, www.uopeople.edu/blog/how-social-media-affected-communication/.
Robinson, Lawrence. “Social Media and Mental Health.” HelpGuide.org, www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-health/social-media-and-mental-health.htm.
“Social Media Stress Can Lead to Social Media Addiction.” Science Daily, 27 Aug. 2019, www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190827125559.htm.