Teenagers could be more vulnerable to the negative effects of social media during their adolescence. Once they build an online persona, you can't be sure of the internet's impact on the developing minds of teens.
In this article, you'll read:
- Dangers of social media use to teenagers
- The negative link between social media and life satisfaction of teens
- How to protect your teen from the negative effects of social media
Dangers of Social Media Use to Teenagers
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Studies say that girls and boys might be more vulnerable to the negative impact of social media use at different times of their lives. Modern technology and the use of social media changed the way we live. It fundamentally influenced how we spend our time, share information about ourselves, and communicate with other people.
Despite the years of research, we're still not sure how social media use relates to one's well-being. However, experts claim there is widespread concern about its potential negative impact on individuals and society.
Social media use can negatively affect teens. It can distract them, disrupt their sleep, and expose them to bullying. Additionally, it could be used as a tool to spread rumours, cause peer pressure, and show an unrealistic view of people's lives.
The risks of social media use might be related to how much time out teens are using it. A study in the U.S. has found that teenagers who spend more than three hours on social media daily are more likely to suffer from mental health problems. Meanwhile, a study in England found that using social media more than three times a day predicted teens' poor mental health and well-being.
The Negative Effects of Social Media on Teen Life Satisfaction
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Researchers looked for the connection between social media use and the life satisfaction of teenagers during their adolescence period. A team of scientists consisting of psychologists, neuroscientists, and modellers teamed up to find the link. Experts of the study came from the University of Cambridge, Oxford, and the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour.
They determined after a year that the period of adolescence associated with social media use lowers their value of life. Within that timeframe, social media use among 11 to 13-year-old girls was associated with a decrease in life satisfaction. Meanwhile, comparable findings were discovered in boys between 14 and 15 years of age.
The study shows that our teens' sensitivity to social media use is linked to their developmental changes. It also demonstrates that adolescent puberty or brain structure development happens earlier in girls than in boys.
Additional details in the research show that 19-year-old males and females were also associated with a decrease in life satisfaction.
"It is possible that social changes, such as leaving home and starting work, could make them vulnerable at 19," researchers stated.
According to Dr Amy Orben from MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, the University of Cambridge, who led the study,
"The link between social media use and mental well-being is clearly very complex," said Dr Orben. "Changes within our bodies, such as brain development and puberty, and in our social circumstances appear to make us vulnerable at particular times of our lives."
Protecting Your Teen From the Negative Effects of Social Media
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We came up with the following steps to guide you in influencing your teen to be a responsible social media user. These methods could also limit some of the negative effects of social media.
You might want to consider these tips from Mayo Clinic:
As a parent, you can talk to your teen about how to avoid letting social media interfere with their health. They should never let social media interfere with their activities, sleep, meals, homework, and other vital parts of their lives.
Mums and dads, you can encourage a bedtime routine that avoids electronic media use. Your children should keep cell phones, tablets, and other devices out of their bedrooms. You should also set an example by following your own rules yourself.
Monitor your teen's account
You must monitor your child's account while they are still at a minor age. However, you should let your teen know that you will regularly check their social media account. Establishing consent helps them trust you in making responsible choices on social media.
Discourage your teen from gossiping, spreading rumours, bullying or damaging someone's reputation on social media. A positive attitude starts at home; they should know what is appropriate and safe to share on social media.
Encourage face-to-face contact with friends
This tip is better when the COVID-19 pandemic is over. It is particularly important for teens vulnerable to social anxiety disorder.
Talk about social media and how you use it as an adult. It will also be helpful to remind your teen that social media is full of unrealistic images.
If you think that your child is experiencing any signs of depression or anxiety due to social media use, do not hesitate to consult a doctor.
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