The adoption of social media has been one of the most life-changing, global, viral trends to take over, at such a steady pace. While there are many positives to such social networking sites, from the interactivity they offer, to the marketing benefits they provide, there are also many negatives, some of which are significant.

The negatives of social media usage, exposure and consumption are affecting every audience across the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. However, a certain group is struggling the most, those who have grown up through the adoption and feel the need to be active, standing as teens.

Concerns are high when surrounding the mental health of teens. Teenage years are the times that most find themselves, where positive guidance and encouragement are indefinitely needed, and where influence is the strongest. Now add in the influential, consuming and addictive tool of social media, and those concerns are even higher.

Across the globe, social media is harming teens mental health, where the community inspired platform is in fact causing loneliness, bullying and feelings of separation, of low self-worth and of extreme comparison.

Through such a transitional and impactful time of life, teens should be inspired, should be building themselves up and should be finding a balance. Yet, instead, social media is substantially increasing mental health diagnosis rates for this age group, influencing the need for change.

Here’s how social media may harm teen’s mental health, the common disruptive impacts it has, and how much exposure can lead to life-changing problems, linked to poor mental health. If you’re worried about your mental health, or of those around you, at Ocean Recovery, we’re here to help.


The Damaging Side Of Social Media

Like anything in life, there are arguments for both positive and negative impacts of social media adoption and exposure. Some will believe that the viral, virtual and accessible platform of such networking sites have benefitted communication, business and community interactivity.

However, the negatives do surround privacy, life pressures, the 24/7 world we now live in, and around impacts on mental health. For most, the damages will overrule the positives. However, for those whose livelihoods or relationships are facilitated across social media, opinions will differ.

There is however the sad reality of rising mental health problems and pressures, placed on teens, down to the adoption of social media, which definitely outweighs the assets that such platforms have provided.

Those impacts cannot be ignored when life-changing habits, cases of depression, problems with self-esteem and even bullying are occurring. Here’s how social media may harm teens mental health, from disruptive and influential standpoints.


How Social Media May Harm Teens Mental Health

Social media acts as both a disruptive and influential tool. It’s found to disrupt normal life, the stages that teenagers should thrive through. It’s also found to influence such habits and negative traits which are adapting outlooks and perceptions of being teens. Both of these effects are increasing mental health problems in teens, all starting from the excessive misuse of social media.


Social Media As A Disruptive Tool

  • Disrupts sleep 

Social media for teens is seen as a 24/7 communication tool. As pressures to be active on a consistent basis, to be relevant and to be popular increase, excessive usage of social media is becoming a problem. Such a problem is found to disrupt sleep, which if experienced for the long-term is found to impact wellbeing, with a focus on mental health.


  • Disrupts healthy routines 

For some teens, where social media usage has turned into a habit, a necessity to check in every day, and the need to keep up with trends, healthy routines are being disrupted.

Communication may become so virtual that physical connections are dwindling, social media is becoming a priority over other activities, and physical movement is found to reduce as phone attachment is becoming a thing.

Both disruptions to sleep and routine are underlying contributors of mental health problems, which once paired with the below influences, can materialise into depression, anxiety, paranoia and further personality, mood and compulsive issues.


Social Media And Its Exposure

If you’re wondering how social media may harm teens mental health, below are some of the consequences that excessive exposure has resulted in. While these consequences will not impact every user, it is found that the pressurised world that we live in, along with the features of social media are increasing the risk of mental health deterioration.


  • Exposes teens to bullying 

Trolls and bullying content are everywhere across social media. Exposure to such activity can become too much for teens, for those who are trying to find themselves. Bullying is a key worry in this age group, especially when correlated with the invasive and toxic communities of social media.


  • Exposes teens to addictive characteristics 

Addiction rates in teens are usually low, in comparison to early adult life. Yet the addictiveness of social media exposure is increasing the susceptibility of such fixations on teens. Many will admit to feeling addicted to their phones, to the constant churn of social media content, and to keeping up with trends.


  • Exposes teens to influential content  

Content across social media can be highly influential. Such content has been found to increase body image issues, eating disorders, body dysmorphia, depression, self-harm, and comparison disorders. While we can digest, as adults, that content is heavily edited, teens are usually sucked into social media platforms, becoming engrossed by such content.


  • Exposes teens to a false sense of reality  

Social media provides a false sense of security. It only showcases the positives of most people’s lives, which highlights success, beauty, happiness and popularity.

For teens who feel worlds apart from such images, the pressures of social media are found to increase insecurities, worries, and neglect; all linked to poor mental health.


Finding A Healthy Balance Between Social Media Usage And Mental Health

It’s extremely worrying and sad when thinking about how disruptive and influential social media can be on teens. Our future generations may be harmed, controlled and consumed by fake and manipulated platforms.

Down to the impacts that social media can have, it’s vital that we find a balance between the positives and negatives. Social media can do good in the world, yet if used correctly.

Greater awareness of how social media may harm teens mental health is imperative, in tandem with increasing education on usage and consumption. We at Ocean Recovery are passionate about change and are here to offer mental health support and services if you are struggling.

Your real-life matters way more than your social media presence. Secure your mental health by remembering this.



John Gillen - Author - Last updated: January 13, 2022

John is one UK’s leading professionals in the addiction recovery industry. Pioneering new treatment techniques such as NAD+ and ongoing research into new therapy techniques such as systematic laser therapy, John is committed to providing the very best treatment for people throughout the UK and Europe. During his extremely busy schedule, John likes to regularly update our blog section with the latest news and trends in the industry to keep visitors to our site as well informed as possible on everything related to addiction treatment.