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  • Writer's pictureLauren Schapiro, LMSW

Social Media's Effect on Teens

Updated: Jan 3

Social Media's Effect on Teens

Many people wonder how using social media affects us and what that does to teens and

adolescents. There has been discussion about young children spending too much time on tablets or devices and its effects on social and cognitive skill development. However, adolescence is another important period of development where there is a large focus on finding our own identity, trying to balance relationships, and concern about appearances. Social media has an impact on our mental health and overall well-being during this stage of life.

This article will share some of the impacts that social media has on teens. Social media, such as Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok play a role in teen development in today’s society. One positive aspect of social media is that it connects people and makes it easier to keep in touch with people we may not live near. An aspect of social media that has pros and cons is getting likes on whatever platform is being used. This can be a positive experience in that we receive external validation, which is healthy in moderation. Receiving likes can help boost confidence and can help us see ourselves in a positive way. When others interact with our content, it helps us to feel more connected and strengthen our relationship with them.

However, receiving likes can also have a negative impact on self-esteem. Too much external validation leads us to believe our worthiness is dependent on what others think of us. Also, social media newsfeeds can show an inaccurate view of someone’s identity where teens are trying to project an idealized image to others. Social media is an easy way to get caught comparing yourself to other people.

How can parents help:

  1. Encourage finding validation within - spend time encouraging your teen to recognize accomplishments in their lives and positive characteristics about themselves

  2. Get your teen involved in something they’re interested in

  3. Help your teen find a support system and be part of that support system that lifts them up

  4. Model using social media in moderation and set an example of healthy phone usage

  5. Do not spy on your child’s social media (unless there is cause for concern) because that will damage your relationship

If you’re worried about your teen and their social media use, you’re not alone. If you’d like support navigating this tricky topic, we’re here to help. Feel free to get in touch with us for a free 15-minute phone consultation. We can answer any questions you have, see whether we’re a good fit, and start working toward a better future today.


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