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Social Media’s Self-Esteem Implications For Teens

People of all ages enjoy staying in touch with family and friends through social media. For teenagers, however, using social media is a much more complex affair. As adolescents, we must strive to cultivate our individual identities while forging meaningful relationships with those we can trust and count on. Achieving this delicate balance is a hallmark of the teenage experience. Psychologists have found that social media can even help teens on this journey towards adulthood, but it can also have a detrimental effect on their self-esteem if not used correctly.

Cyberbullying and harassment are common occurrences on the web, creating feelings of low self-worth, powerlessness and depression amongst young users. This makes it difficult to benefit from the “likes” they receive on their posts if they’re substituting real life friendships for virtual ones. Research has also shown that focusing too intensely on oneself can be damaging to self-esteem, and can even lead to narcissism.

In addition, it’s common for social media users to compare themselves to others, which leads to feelings of envy and inadequacy. In fact, a study examining the link between Facebook usage and depression found that frequent comparisons were associated with overthinking and rumination – both symptoms of low self-esteem. As teens tend to evaluate themselves against their peers frequently in the online world, this could easily become an issue if they become addicted to social media.

Unsurprisingly then, researchers have identified self-esteem as a contributory factor of many mental health issues such as depression, eating disorders, substance abuse, and self-harming behaviors. In conclusion, it’s important to remember that social media can be both a helpful and harmful tool for teenagers as they go through the important development stages of their life – so it must be used carefully.

Parents can have a significant positive impact on their teen’s psychological well-being by keeping track of their child’s social media accounts and having open conversations about its use. Setting aside designated areas as ‘screen-free zones’ is also beneficial, and it helps to lead by example – that is, unplugging regularly and finding suitable offline activities. It’s important to stay up to date with the positives and negatives of social media and be proactive in educating your teen. Taking a break from apps and devices can also improve overall well-being, reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety. Ultimately, it’s important to help your teen create a positive sense of self that doesn’t rely on validation from an online world. By doing this, you can empower them to create a healthier relationship with social media.