Since then, further studies attribute social media and technology use in general to the rising number of teenagers suffering from depression.
It’s clear to see why social media can have a detrimental effect on the psychological development of teenagers. The system places an emphasis on interactions and being liked.
Social media also breeds an environment in which teenagers compare themselves to other people. And it’s not just their school peers they have to compare themselves with. It’s the whole world.
Body dysmorphia was found to be a leading cause of anxiety in teenagers that compared themselves with beautiful bodies. This also led to a rise in eating disorders.
Some teenagers will also feel their life is less exciting and eventful than other people their own age. When they see pictures of people hanging out with friends, visiting exotic locations and eating delicious food in restaurants and cafes, they can feel their life is inadequate.
Social media has also been found to make people more judgmental, aggressive and opinionated. Anyone that has used platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Tik Tok will know firsthand how quickly a post can spiral into an argument.
For teenagers, the toxicity is arguably worse. Cyberbullying has become so problematic that UNICEF has created a dedicated task force and teamed up with social media platforms to stamp out scaremongering, angering and shaming other users.
Cyberbullying is classified as:
Whilst it’s clear that social media can be harmful, it also has many positive benefits as well. What’s important to understand is the underlying causes of anxiety.
Anxiety is predominantly due to a lack of self-esteem. This can take the form of a lack of self-worth, a lack of self-respect and a lack of self-confidence. Social media merely fuels the fire of self-hate.
It may be difficult to drag yourself or your children away from social media platforms. Given they provide some benefits, it may not serve you to drop them altogether.
However, having an awareness of how social platforms can cause anxiety and depression will help to avoid becoming another victim. If it’s already too late for you, use social platforms less and seek professional help to build your self-esteem.