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The Relationship Between Social Media and Your Teen

This page is to demonstrate to adults and raise awareness of how social media affects the mental health of teenagers.  I have noticed that platforms like Instagram make teens have low self-esteem, FOMO, and can foster some forms of cyberbullying.

Teens share their thoughts on social media and how it affects their mental health.

Social media controls the lives of teenagers in this day and age.  Social media is amazing for young people to keep in touch with their friends, get involved in something they care about, and to have something to laugh about.  It can also be a recluse for LGBTQ+ adolescents because they can find others going through the same things as them and support groups. But, there are a lot of downsides to social media.  The more and more young people are engaging in social media, the more they might be getting less sleep, their self-esteem decreases, and they have a chance of obtaining depression or anxiety because they feel as though they need to keep up with everything all the time. Many teens compare themselves to others on social media showing their fancy vacation or their latest outfit.  Thus, loneliness and jealousy can occur. Also, teens can turn to social media to find advice which can be wrong and cyberbullying and online fights are present.

https://www.commonsensemedia.org/teen-social-media-infographic

I sent out a survey from my school and asked “How does social media make you feel and does it affect your mental health? These are the comments that I got:

It makes me feel more self conscious than I think it would without it. It often makes me feel like I’m missing out on things that other people are doing and that my life isn’t as good as others. In reality everyone feels the same way. My mental health has been affected by the presence of social media in my life.

I think always having my life on display for other people makes it really hard to relax and unwind. There’s also an expectation to always be available, which is highly stressful because people can’t always be available and asking us to stretch ourselves like that is  lot. Part of what adds to the stress is the belief that if you’re not constantly responding then you don’t really love your friends, which is fake. And even though people know the expectation is unreasonable, it’s still subscribed to by many many people. Social media, in my experience, creates pressure to always be doing stuff that other people will find interesting or aesthetic, or always be styling my life around what other people think. Already, as teenagers, we’re programmed to be overly-conscious of our community’s opinion of us, but adding these additional pressures makes everything that much harder. Whoop. Sick. Ride bikes. Be sick. Love yourself.

I don’t have social media so I feel unaffected.

It’s sort of all over the place but essentially social media in general doesn’t make me feel great about myself. It’s not so much the interactions I have with people I legitimately know it’s more like what I see becoming trends that id say negatively affects my mental health. I sort of feel like every time I go on Instagram (cause that’s the only social media platform I actually use) I’m seeing one certain type of person, specifically type of woman, being portrayed. I think you know what type I’m talking about like skinny instagram model types you know the kind that don’t actually work they just swim in Fiji all day and at first I’m like wow I wanna be like that because then the people I’m attracted to would actually look in my direction but then I think like no no I’m better than that I just need to have self confidence. But it’s SO HARD to have self confidence when what you’re told over and over again is that in order to be given attention in any form you must look like that… so I’d say social media’s not great… however I do think it’s a cool way to stay in touch with friends and see what say like artists or athletes etc are up to I just feel like the culture that’s developed on instagram (and probably other platforms) is pretty harmful.

How parents/adults can help their teen with social media:

  • Educate themselves in how teens/their teen(s) use social media
    • Ask them what accounts they have and how they use them
  • Have conversations with their child on how to be safe online
    • Tell them to be wary about strangers and sensitive content
  • Try to help them minimize their time on their phones/social media
    • This will help them be able to get out of the social media world and let them be able to have a break from it
  • Parents should talk to their children about how not to be as affected by how other people to present their lives on social media. Parents should encourage their teen to feel confident in themselves and not to worry about others

Lauren Mazza, the author:

Sources: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1uV2-dhzCTTXbQBjjyW9k25Ln33eH1XohkfsomXnvcDs/edit?usp=sharing

Share this project
COMMENTS: 17
  1. April 25, 2019 by Jane Miller Reply

    Lauren, I really like the topic that you chose for your project and I think you did a great job of capturing how social media affects the mental health of teens. Both the video and the quotes you received from your classmates gave peoples’ real experiences with and opinions of social media in terms of mental health, and I thought they were very interesting. I can definitely relate with many of the opinions that social media has affected my mental health many times. I can’t even count the amount of times I have gotten FOMO or felt like I needed to be a certain way because of social media. Do you think that there are ways to decrease the use of social media? Or do you think that the usage is just going to continue to increase? I wonder what our lives would be like now if social media wasn’t part of our everyday lives. Great work on your project!!

    • April 28, 2019 by Lauren Mazza Reply

      Thanks for all the support, Jane. In my opinion, I don’t think that there can be a decrease of social media in our lives, I just don’t think we as a society are ready for that yet. I wish we were not as reliant on social media as we are so we could feel better about ourselves and have overall happier lives.

  2. April 26, 2019 by Connor.Weselman Reply

    Great work on this project. I feel like if everyone was able to put opinions like this out into public is wouldn’t be such a big problem. This page is definitely on the right track. Great work!

  3. April 26, 2019 by Sierra Erdman-Luntz Reply

    I really liked your project! I use social media all of time. While I’ve noticed how it has affected by mental health both positively and negatively, it was helpful to read the analysis more explicitly.

  4. April 26, 2019 by Lachen Reid Reply

    i love how you used a wide variety of information presentations in your project. It was really engaging and fun to read your project. At my school, many students use social media as an escape from their stress caused by classwork and social issues. I think your ideas can really help kids at my school learn about the negative effects all the social media use may have on them.

  5. April 26, 2019 by Shaya Reply

    Hi Lauren, your project brings up a really prevalent and interesting issue. I especially appreciate that you are covering this topic knowing that you have an audience of mostly teenagers – it makes the issue of social media so much more relevant and engaging. Thanks!

  6. April 26, 2019 by Kabir.Singh Reply

    Hi Lauren, your page was excellent, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading the work you have done. The video you made was very professional and engaging, and it was far better than simply writing those things down. Putting faces on the impacts, positive and negative, of social media really made it more relatable, and that was great. Our world now revolves around social media, and I wanted to ask you if you have any alternatives to social media. Or, is there any way to leverage the positive aspect of social media further, and only utilising the positive side.

  7. April 26, 2019 by Vedica.Chopra Reply

    Hi Lauren, I really liked your page! I liked how you emphasized the positive and negative things about social media, instead of just the negative ones. You pointed out that LGBTQ students found recluse in social media, and this was my personal experience with it! I had a lot of struggle with family and friends at first, and it was the only thing that made me feel normal- that there were people out there like me. I appreciate that you included that.

    Social media undoubtedly has negative effects sometimes. However, our generation is continuing to get increasingly into social media and the internet. What do you think that we can do to use social media in a healthy way?

  8. April 26, 2019 by Abigail.Carlton Reply

    Hi Lauren! You did a great job putting together your project to highlight a very important issue. It was so interesting to read and I enjoyed the video you included. As a teenager, it is easy to relate to which makes it more interesting. Social media is something almost every teenager uses and that makes it relevant to the audience as most of the audience is teenagers.

  9. April 27, 2019 by Julia.Kashimura Reply

    Like Vedica, I liked how you included the pros and cons of social media. It was nice to see both sides instead of only the negative ones. It was very interesting since I am a teenager, which makes it easier to relate to. I also liked the video you included since it introduced your topic very well.

  10. April 27, 2019 by Heather Gadalla Reply

    Hi Lauren! I loved the way you structured your project and found the topic to be overall very relevant and interesting. Social media is a huge part of daily life for many people now, and your discussions through surveys with your peers made it clear the negative effects this can have.

  11. April 27, 2019 by Michaela Kim Reply

    Hi Lauren, I really enjoyed your page! I thought the video and infographic were really helpful and engaging. I especially love how relatable this topic is for most teens – through your project, you’ve been able to get so many students around the world to reflect on their social media usage. As I read through your page, I couldn’t help but wonder what we can do as friends if one of our peers is being affected negatively by social media. Did you happen to come across anything while doing research? Also, do you think that there’s a way to only get the benefits from social media and not the harms? Or a way to maximize that? I’d love to know your thoughts!

  12. April 28, 2019 by Annika Klaus Reply

    Hi Lauren,
    Your project was really interesting to read through, and you had a lot of solid research! Your infographic was really helpful and made your page very pleasing to look at. Being a teenager I related to this project a lot and I learnt a lot of new things through the entertaining video and your writing. You kept it very easy to follow along! Reading through your page I began to notice how much I related both the positive and negative side effects of social media and I’m wondering is there a way to limit the negativity on social media? Or what could I do to prevent teenagers from being negatively influenced on social media? I want to spread positivity on all my social platforms, are there any ways to raise awareness for this? Overall, you did such a good job! Well done 🙂

  13. April 28, 2019 by Angelina Josephine Kline Reply

    Hi Lauren! I really enjoyed reading your page, I really liked how you included both the negative and positive aspects of social media. I also admired the introductory video, it really caught my attention. I definitely think this is an important topic that needs to be further discussed and something that I think about a lot. Personally, I think I am conflicted with my stance of pro-social media, because it does act as a great resource and a way to stay connected and informed. Good work!

  14. April 29, 2019 by Isabella.Kemp Reply

    Hi Lauren, great presentation! Your infographic was very visually appealing but also very informational. I think that this is a topic that most teens can relate to (from FOMO to having a warped view on reality). Personally, I do see good sides to social media: it is so much easier to keep in touch with people in your life, and it lets us do things like this Catalyst Conference. But it does have the ability to take over most of your life.

  15. April 30, 2019 by Gianni.Notaro Reply

    Hey Lauren. I thought the most powerful aspect of your presentation was the graphic about face to face time, which makes sense, as humans need to interact with each other. Your advice section on actions parents can do to help keep track of their kids’ social media was very informative, and seems to be very reasonable.

  16. May 10, 2019 by Alyssa.Chang Reply

    Hi Lauren! I really liked the way you organized your presentation. I think this is such an important topic since social media plays such a big role in teenagers’ life. The comments from the students are interesting to read, and it is nice to see how other students feel about social media. Thank you for sharing relevant information!

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