Social media has become an integral part of modern life, yet its effects on adolescents remain largely unexplored. Growing research, however, indicates that social media usage can positively and negatively affect young people in numerous ways.
On the positive side, social media serves as a platform for communication, connection, and self-expression. Social media allows adolescents to stay in touch with friends and family, explore their personal identities, participate in dynamic conversations and contribute to valuable social causes. It also provides a platform to connect with people of similar interests, find quick and easily accessible resources, and showcase creative works.
On the other hand, there are also plenty of risks that come with utilizing social media: cyberbullying, lowered self-esteem, taunting, body shaming, and false information are among the most common threats adolescents face when using social media. As research shows, excessive time spent on social media can actually increase anxiety and depression levels in adolescents, while preventing them from forming healthy relationships with family and friends in person.
It is important to remain aware of the effects of social media on young people, both good and bad. Keeping young individuals informed about the possible risks and suggestions for organizing their use of social media is an important tactic for parents, educators and advisors. By practicing mindful internet usage, adolescents can effectively use social media to foster positive connections, build self-esteem and access critical resources.