Social media takes toll on teen mental health

Senior+at+Farmington+High+School%2C+Kacey+Noseworthy%2C+spends+time+on+social+media+during+school.+
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Social media takes toll on teen mental health

Senior at Farmington High School, Kacey Noseworthy, spends time on social media during school.

Senior at Farmington High School, Kacey Noseworthy, spends time on social media during school.

Senior at Farmington High School, Kacey Noseworthy, spends time on social media during school.

Senior at Farmington High School, Kacey Noseworthy, spends time on social media during school.

Sarah Newhard, Staff Writer

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On an average day, teens spend nine hours on social media. Instead of exercising, reading, or spending time with family, teens are spending almost half of their day mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Spending excessive amounts of time on social media is causing our generation to experience extremely high amounts of depression, anxiety, and loneliness. According to managing editor at the Child Mind Institute, Rachel Ehmke, “A survey conducted by the Royal Society for Public Health asked 14-24 year olds how social media impacted their health, and the results said that all social media led to increased feelings of depression, anxiety, poor body image, and loneliness.” Instead of spending time taking care of themselves, teens are constantly comparing their lives and their appearances to celebrities and models who appear to have “perfect” lives, which only leads to detrimental effects on teens’ mental health.

Not only does social media take a major toll on teen’s mental health, but it is also making a major impact on teen’s social skills and their ability to communicate. Ehmke stated that, “texting and online communicating puts everybody in a nonverbal disabled context, where body language, facial expression, and vocal reactions are rendered invisible.” As a young adult entering the workforce, social skills are incredibly important when trying to make good impressions and obtain jobs, and unfortunately, constant social media usage is preventing teens from getting the experience they need to enter the real world.

The only way to take action against the destructive nature of social media is to become very aware of the toll it is taking on your personal mental health and happiness. Simply taking consistent breaks from social media, unfollowing people to whom you compare yourself, occupying yourself with other activities, and spending time face-to-face with people can increase your happiness exponentially. A study done in Denmark split 1,000 Facebook users into two groups, and asked one of the groups to take a week-long break from the social site. The results showed that those who took a break experienced big jumps in life satisfaction and positive emotions.   

By significantly decreasing social media usage, teens will be happier with their lives, more confident in themselves, and develop better social skills. In a day and age where technology is consuming everything around us, it is so important to maintain social aspects of the past. Spending time with friends and family, reading a good book, or going for a hike are all simple ways you can get off your phone and experience the world around you.

I encourage you to become more aware of the amount of time you spend on social media each day, and make a conscious decision to focus on your life and happiness, rather than the lives of those around you.