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The Impact of Social Media on The Mental Health of Adolescents

The Impact of Social Media on The Mental Health of Adolescents

Sample Answer 

In the last decade, the rapid develo

The Impact of Social Media on The Mental Health of Adolescents

payment of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and TikTok has profoundly changed the way we communicate. Because roughly three-quarters of teenagers own a smartphone, these platforms are prevalent in the daily lives of the majority of adolescents (Guinta, 2018). This was widely observed in a study of over 2,000 teenagers, 92% of whom said they used social media on a daily basis (Lenhart, 2016, as cited in Guinta, 2018). Adolescents’ use of social media is increasing, and so are mental health disorders. The excessive amount of time that teens and young adults spend scrolling through social media has led to an increase in mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. Social media has become an important part of the lives of today’s youth, offering a plethora of positive benefits. There is a claim that social media can benefit adolescents struggling to cope with mental health disorders as a social support system (Chassiakos et al., 2016, as cited in Guinta & John, 2018). Nonetheless, there has been a great deal of emphasis on the negative impact it has had on cognitive, emotional, and behavioral outcomes. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the lifetime prevalence of some kind of mental health disorder among adolescents is 49.5%, and 22% will experience severe mental health impairment in their lifetime (NIHM, 2019). Social media has also been linked to an increase in abusive behaviors such as internet addiction and cyberbullying, which has been linked to an increase in mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, and, in the worst-case scenario, suicide (Duarte et al., 2018). The dangers of social media on mental health highlight the need for special programs and educational curricula in schools and among parents that teach safe social media use. Implications for safe social media use are essential in combating and reducing the physiological and physical effects it has on adolescents.

Adolescence is a transitional period to adulthood, which is significant because it is a time period when many physical, psychological, and social changes occur in an adolescent’s life. This transitional period can be confusing for adolescents as they develop a sense of identity, and intimate relationships, and take on more responsibilities while also facing challenges. Adolescence is when the pressures of friendships and personal relationships become more difficult, making adolescents more vulnerable to mental health issues. It is also around adolescents that mental health disorders can be detected for the first time (O’Reilly et al., 2018). So far, social media has transformed the way adolescents communicate and socialize with one another. According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 90% of adolescents aged 13 to 17 have used some form of social media, 75% have at least one active social media profile, and 51% visit a social media site daily (AACAP, 2018). To put how much time adolescents spend on social media into context, it is equivalent to 9 hours per day (AACAP, 2018). Several studies have found that spending so much time on social media increases anxiety. These authors used administered questionnaires to survey a population of 100 individual adolescents in order to determine the link between social media and anxiety. According to these questionnaires, 40% of participants reported feeling anxious when they were unable to access social media (Fathima et al., 2019). Surprisingly, 38% said they preferred communicating with others through social media rather than face-to-face (Fathima et al., 2019). Looking at the information presented, it is clear that social media can cause addictive behavior that causes a great deal of anxiety in adolescents. The anxiety caused by social media can manifest in a variety of ways, such as the inability to leave the house without a cell phone for fear of missing out on social updates and messages (Bloomfield & Barber, 2014).

In addition to anxiety, social media has been linked to an increase in adolescent depression. The results of a qualitative design study on adolescents’ perspectives on the impact of social media were intriguing. Six focus groups were held over a three-month period, with adolescents ranging in age from 11 to 18 years old (O’Reilly). These adolescents were asked a series of questions about their understanding of mental health, such as defining concepts, drawing personal experiences, the extent to which they used social media, and which social media they preferred (O’Reilly). The response to depression was very alarming; participants stated that seeing negative postings, even if they have nothing to do with them personally, brings them down (O’Reilly). In other words, whether or not the exposure impact of social media is directed at the individual, it has a negative effect that can bring out depressive episodes and symptoms in adolescents. Furthermore, demonstrates the ability of depression in adolescents through extensive social media use. Among the flood of negativity, there are some findings that social media has some positive benefits. According to the nursing journal, The Hazards and Benefits of Adolescent Social Media Use, a longitudinal study of 942 adolescents found that social media has a positive impact on cognitive and affective empathy (Rajamohan, 2019). Adolescents’ ability to appreciate the feelings of others, as well as express their own, improved as a result of social media. Vidal, on the other hand, highlights the significant increase in depression rates from 8.7% to 11.3% from 2005 to 2014. (Vidal et al., 2020). Though not all aspects of social media are negative, the alarming rates of depression far outweigh the benefits discussed.

Furthermore, elements of abusive behavior, such as cyberbullying, have increased depression and anxiety.

Social media can be an excellent communication tool, particularly for adolescents discovering their sexual orientation. As perplexing as puberty can be for them, social media can serve as a platform for them to meet other people who share their experiences. Social media has become a primary mode of socialization for the LGBT youth community, which can help to alleviate feelings of loneliness (Escobar-Viera, 2020). In fact, 49.2% of young LGBT people cited social media as a positive tool for making and maintaining connections with people from all over the world (Escobar-Viera, 2020). On the other hand, the effects of social media on the minority of LGBT youth are far more negative, with negative mental health consequences. To put it another way, high school students who identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual are 26% more likely to be bullied online and 38% more likely to be bullied in person (Duarte et al., 2018). As a result, participation in cyberbullying is strongly linked to depression, anxiety, attempted suicide, and other negative disorders, which are becoming much more common (Duarte et al., 2018). Social media has a place in the lives of adolescents, but it raises the risk of cyberbullying significantly. They use it to communicate and express themselves, but we have no control over what another person on the other side of the screen sends. This cross-sectional study of the relationship between minority status, cyberbullying, and mental health yields a wealth of information. 256 of the 1,056 screened adolescents reported at least one instance of cyberbullying (Duarte et al., 2018). Not only did 24.6% experience this type of bullying, but 5.6% engaged in cyberbullying, and 11.1% were victims of cyberbullying (Duarte et al., 2018). Despite the fact that this survey was also subcategorized by gender and race, it was discovered that LGBT adolescents were 3.11 times more likely to experience than all other subcategories tested (Duarte et al., 2018). The evidence presented in this study works together to shed light on the dangers of social media, despite its benefits.

Aside from cyberbullying, another aspect of social media that has an impact on mental health disorders is the unrealistic perceptions that adolescents hold. Despite the fact that 81% of adolescents report that social media helps them feel connected to their friends, it can play an important role in mental health because they require social support (Nesi, 2020). Social media can create unrealistic expectations about lifestyles, relationships, and beauty standards, leading to feelings of depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem, as well as self-doubt. According to studies, this altered perception can lead to serious health consequences such as eating disorders. Feldman used the 22-item Eating Disorders Examination Questionnaire to conduct a study that directly linked Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and Snapchat to disordered eating behaviors (Feldman, 2020). Skipping meals, vomiting, and binge eating were all examples of disordered eating behaviors. The author discovered that 51.5% of 534 girls reported having at least one disordered eating behavior, while only 45% of 462 boys reported having at least one disordered eating behavior (Feldman, 2020). Not only were disordered eating behaviors linked to social media, but the amount of time spent on each platform had an effect on the reported behaviors. Females were found to be at higher risk than boys; in fact, there was no correlation to time found for the boys. Girls who spent more than 60 minutes on Instagram, on the other hand, had higher disordered eating behavior scores, which were 95% higher the more time they spent on Instagram (Feldman, 2020). In terms of less severe health consequences, social media still causes overall body dissatisfaction, owing to influences on what type of beauty standards are deemed attractive based on the amount of feedback received from society. It is further explained in a study that was designed to look into the links between body dissatisfaction and social media platforms. According to the sociocultural model, adolescents receive messages about how their bodies should look from peers and other sources. These messages range from how things should be to how muscular they should be, with a strong emphasis on what ideal body standards are attractive. Adolescents internalize this feedback and compare their bodies to ideal body types; if their appearance does not match up, they experience body dissatisfaction (de Vries et al., 2019).

As a result, the rise of social media is undeniably linked to the overall negative and harmful mental health effects on the adolescent population. Though positive aspects such as social support, communication, and positive self-expression have been considered, the overall influence has had a negative impact on adolescents. The increase in depression, anxiety, suicide, and physical dissatisfaction has been found to be a common theme in all of the studies cited. Various social media factors have also been shown to play a role in the rise of these mental health issues. Cyberbullying, the promotion of eating disorders, and skewed perceptions all had a significant health impact throughout this theme. The number of social media users will continue to rise, and the effects on adolescent mental health will become more apparent. This prevalent situation necessitates the implementation of education in schools on safe social media use, as well as education on dangers and risks for educators and parents. Understanding both the positive and negative effects of social media use is critical for developing solutions to this epidemic. Furthermore, research will be needed to understand the negative impact social media has on our youth and to investigate prevention and treatment options.

References

Abi-Jaoude, E., Naylor, K. T., & Pignatiello, A. (2020). Smartphones, social media use, and youth mental health. CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association Journal, 192(6), E136-E141. doi:10.1503/cmaj.190434

Blomfield Neira, C. J., & Barber, B. L. (2014). Social networking site use: Linked to adolescents’ social self-concept, self-esteem, and depressed mood. Australian Journal of Psychology, 66(1), 56–64. https://doi.org/10.1111/ajpy.12034

de Vries, D. A., Vossen, H. G. M., & van der Kolk – van der Boom, Paulien. (2019). Social media and body dissatisfaction: Investigating the attenuating role of positive parent-adolescent relationships. Journal of Youth & Adolescence, 48(3), 527-536. doi:10.1007/s10964-018-0956-9

Duarte, C., Pittman, S. K., Thorsen, M. M., Cunningham, R. M., & Ranney, M. L. (2018). Correlation of minority status, cyberbullying, and mental health: A cross-sectional study of 1031 adolescents. Journal of Child & Adolescent Trauma, 11(1), 39-48. doi:10.1007/s40653-018-0201-4

Escobar-Viera, C., Shensa, A., Hamm, M., Melcher, E. M., Rzewnicki, D. I., Egan, J. E., . . .

Primack, B. A. (2020). “I don’t feel like the odd one”: Utilizing content analysis to compare the effects of social media use on well-being among sexual minority and nonminority US young adults. American Journal of Health Promotion, 34(3), 285-293. doi:10.1177/0890117119885517

Fathima, F., Priya, V. V., & Gayathri, R. (2019). Social media and anxiety – A survey. Drug Invention Today, 12(9), 1841-1844.

Feldman, E. (2020). Social media use and disordered eating in young adolescents. Integrative Medicine Alert, 23(5), 1-3.

Guinta, M. R. (2018). Social media and adolescent health. Pediatric Nursing, 44(4), 196-201.

Jelenchick, L.A., Eickhoff, J.C., & Moreno, M.A. (2013). “Facebook depression?” social networking site use and depression in older adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Health, 52(128-130). http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2012.05.008

Lenhart, A. (2015). Teens, social media & technology overview 2015. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/04 /09/teens-social-media-technology2015/

National Institute of Mental Health (2019). Mental Illness Retrieved September 10, 2020, from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/mental-illness.shtml

Nesi, J. (2020). The impact of social media on youth mental health: Challenges and opportunities. North Carolina Medical Journal, 81(2), 116-121. doi:10.18043/ncm.81.2.116

Nesi, J., & Prinstein, M.J. (2015). Using social media for comparison and feedback-seeking: Gender and popularity moderate associations with depressive symptoms. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 43(8), 1427-1438. doi:10. 1007/s10802-015-0020-0

O’Reilly, M., Dogra, N., Whiteman, N., Hughes, J., Eruyar, S., & Reilly, P. (2018). Is social media bad for mental health and well-being? Exploring the perspectives of adolescents. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 23(4), 601–613. https://doi.org/10.1177/1359104518775154

Rajamohan, S., Bennett, E., & Tedone, D. (2019). The hazards and benefits of social media use in adolescents. Nursing, 49(11), 52-56. doi 10.1097/01.NURSE.0000585908.13109.24

Reid Chassiakos, Y., Radesky, J., Christakis, D., Moreno, M., & Cross, C. (2016). Children and adolescents and digital media. Pediatrics 138(5). doi:10.1542/ peds.2016.2593

Vidal, C., Lhaksampa, T., Miller, L., & Platt, R. (2020). Social media use and depression in adolescents: a scoping review. International review of psychiatry (Abingdon, England), 32(3), 235–253. https://doi.org/10.1080/09540261.2020.1720623

Yonker, L. M., Zan, S., Scirica, C. V., Jethwani, K., & Kinane, T. B. (2015). “Friending” teens: Systematic review of social media in adolescent and young adult health care. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 17(1), e4-e4. doi:10.2196/jmir.3692

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Question 


The purpose of a literature review is to research and evaluate relevant sources of prior research on your topic, identify themes/ gaps in research, and synthesize identified information.

The Impact of Social Media on The Mental Health of Adolescents

The Impact of Social Media on The Mental Health of Adolescents

In 1,500 – 2,000 words, analyze, compare, and combine literature related to your identified topic.  Be sure to identify the limitations of the studies done in past research.

Use at least five scholarly, peer-reviewed, or empirical studies sources, all from the past 5 to 7 years, to support your thinking.

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