Social media impacts people aged 12-17. Have you ever wondered what happens to teens when they go on social media platforms? Do you think about why your teenager is going through mood swings almost every day or almost every week?

Good Impacts of Social Media

Social media technologies help teens connect with people, build their online profiles and grow their social networks. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram can help teens learn about current events happening in their area, communicate with friends even the long-distance ones, and learn about new subjects. When you are wondering what your friends and classmates have been up to over the past Friday, the past weekend or spring break from school, social media is there to keep you informed.

Examples of positive usage of social media include creating online discussions for certain clubs, informing people about upcoming events, using hashtags and expressing themselves with Snapchat filters. Many teens in high school use hashtags like #graduation and #prom to indicate an event or holiday has occurred. #graduation and #prom hashtags are the most popular to use because it reflects a high school tradition. Snapchat filters allow teens to doodle on their photos and use certain filters like date or holiday features.

Bad Impacts of Social Media

However, social media has a dark side. People often compare their lives to the lives of friends and classmates. This is because people often post happy memories and leave out the negative emotions. If someone is having a bad day, that person goes onto social media and finds out most of his friends are having a good time, and he gets jealous of his own life based on one status update or one photo. From physical appearance to successes, comparison is based on social media.

Charli D’Amelio is a famous TikTok star who has suffered from an eating disorder because of social media. She states:

“Some of the most hurtful comments that I read about myself online are…about my body shape, my body type, which hits close to home because I struggled a lot with body image, body dysmorphia, [and] bad eating habits.”

Charli D’Amelio

Eating disorders result from celebrities and friends posting altered photos of themselves using a photo editing app on their phones. It affects boys and girls in different ways. Girls are expected to have hourglass figures while boys are expected to have muscles and abs.

Another impact social media has is popularity. On social media, popularity is measured by the number of likes a person receives on the photos, videos or status updates. Facebook, Instagram and TikTok are examples of social media platforms that measure how many likes a user has received. To get people’s attention, some teens may do risky social media challenges for popularity. The more likes a person gets, the more popular he or she becomes.

How to Help

The most important lesson your teen must learn is there is a big world out there that doesn’t require a handheld screen. Teens need to learn how to balance social media usage with human interaction. Of course, talking with friends online is okay, but face-to-face interaction is better. Set rules for your teen to follow like disconnect with your phone on the weekends. At first, he or she may miss his or her phone more, but he or she will get used to not having his or her phone all the time.

A doctor, psychologist, psychiatrist or sociologist can also help your teen if he or she continues to suffer from social media. You, your teen and an experienced psychiatrist can discuss on alternatives to interacting with friends.

Effects of Covid-19

Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, teens are spending more time on social media. They want to escape the reality of being stuck within the four walls of their homes. Some teens who stayed off of social media reluctantly gave in to keep in touch with friends and family. College students look for work opportunities on LinkedIn and start doing internships virtually. People try to make the best of the situation by direct message or posting photos.

Still, social media acts as a stimulus for most teens. They act as if being social with friends is the only way they can go through life. With nothing else to do, teens expose themselves on social media to online groups they don’t normally interact with. Therefore, they are addicted to their phones.