Social Media Effects on Mental Health


Photo provided by Georgetown Psychology

Night time phone usage negatively affects teen mental health.

In an age where everything is online, communication, tests and now school, society is becoming heavily reliant on technology. While technology has allowed for increased communication, medical discoveries and scientific breakthroughs, the effect of social media on teen mental health cannot be ignored. 

The increased influence of social media apps, like Instagram, all rely heavily on filters and editing yourself. Influencers use editing apps like Facetune to alter their appearance to look more “beautiful,” effectively erasing all aspects about themselves they find to be imperfect. While the act of editing photos seems to be innocent, what users don’t realize is the effect their edited posts have on young kids and teens. These edits create unrealistic beauty standards that are unattainable for the average person.  

“[The internet] has negatively affected my mental health because it makes me more self conscious and insecure as there are lots of people to compare myself to,” said sophomore Jillian Byerle.

It has been only recently that the body positive movement has really taken off. People are rejecting the idea that someone has to look a certain way to wear something or look good. Studies have shown that high usage of social media causes a teen to have an increase in depression and anxiety and body image issues play a large role in those issues. The body positive movement is all about accepting the body you have and not letting the way you look stop you from doing things. 

Studies have shown that 13% of teens, who make up a large percentage of social media users, and 35% have anxiety. 

“I think normalizing different body images and normalizing people’s insecurities can help better people’s mental health,” said sophomore Rucha Somalwar.

Social Media creates a warped perception of reality. People are able to curate themselves and project an image of themselves that they want people to see whether that image of themselves is true or not. 

Social media also has created a world where people feel the need to document every aspect of their lives and more and more people are becoming addicted to technology. Even young kids have more access to technology than in past years. 

“Even in younger kids like the elementary school demographics, you are seeing more and more kids having iPads or having iPods or some sort of electronic device. I also do think that this is going to negatively impact them in the long run too as they are exposed to many things on the internet,” said junior Heidi Tanudaja.

With young kids given access to the internet with little to no supervision or regulation, they can be exposed to people or images that are not appropriate for their age. 

While social media has had many negative effects on mental health it has also allowed for people to be more connected and to be able to find a community online, a community with people with like minded ideas and interests. Social media is something that must be used carefully and responsibly.