“Teens are spending more than one-third of their days using media such as online video or music- nearly nine hours on average” (Tsukayama). Teens are spending a lot of time on their phones and most of that time is spent on social media. Social media is different apps and websites that allow social networking to be done online through sharing content. Adolescents are absorbed in social media, basically living in a virtual world without knowing the consequences. Social media is a big influence on teens’ lives and it’s affecting youth academics, social interactions, and mental health in a negative way.
Young students’ studies are worse due to social media. Teens are constantly distracted by social media while working on their academics. “Two-thirds of students reported using electronic media while in class, studying, or doing homework” (Jacobsen, Forste). Students are spending so much time on social media because they do not know how to manage their screen time. When it comes time to focus on school work, they can’t put down the phone and get the work that needs to be done done.
The more time students spend on social media that should be spent on academic work, the worse the teen will do in school. “For every hour of electronic media exposure reported by students on average, GPA was reduced between 0.05 and 0.07 points” (Jacobsen, Forste). Students’ GPAs are becoming lower because of social media and the more time students use social media, the worse their grades are. The problem of students using social media during the time they should be working is affecting over half of the students. A study was done with the hypothesis that social media would negatively affect academics because of it being a distraction. The results showed that 62% of the participants used non-academic electronic media during class or working on school work (Jacobsen, Forste). So many students are using social media instead of doing their school work, making it impossible for them to be as productive and understand as much. Academics are becoming worse because of the use of social media.
Social interactions are struggling because of social media. Social media is taking up so much of adolescents’ lives that they don’t work on building relationships with people outside of their screens. “One study found that video game use among college students was associated with lower relationship quality with friends and family” (Jacobsen, Forste). College students are struggling to form bonds with people that they should be close to because they care more about their electronics. Social media is also making it hard for teens once they interact with others because they don’t know what to say. “Social networks have become the central facilitator for daily communication with peers, family, and acquaintances. It is affecting our relationships and decreases the quality of interpersonal communication” (Bhamare). Teens don’t know how to interact to each other because on social media everything they do can be checked over and perfected before anyone sees it and it is sent out, but they cannot check over what they say in a raw conversation.
Along with not knowing how to have a conversation, teens no longer know how to understand the meaning behind a conversation. When teens get a like on social media the reward system in their brain is activated and happy chemicals are released. Because of social media, teens understand likes more than facial expressions. Teens can’t interact with others in person because they only have online experience (East). On social media, everything is straight forward, either people like it, or they don’t. Real life isn’t just black and white and sometimes you have to use facial expressions to read beyond that. Because of social media, teens no longer know how to interact with each other.
Teens’ mental health is depleting due to the effects of social media. Social media is changing the way teens feel about themselves and what is going on around them. “Teens’ use of electronic devices including smartphones for at least five hours daily more than doubled, from 8% in 2009 to 19% in 2015. These teens were 70% more likely to have suicidal thoughts or actions than those who reported one hour of daily use” (Tanner). Teens are more likely to compare themselves because of social media, skewing their value on life. Social media can also lead to other mental illnesses that cause life-changing harm to teens. Royal Society for Public Health did a survey on teens ages 14-24 and collected data on how social media affects them. The research concluded that social media lead to anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and other mental illnesses (Ehmke). The teens are dying and hating themselves because they do not know how to be comfortable with themselves when social media puts forth perfect images and ideas for how teenyboppers should be.
Teens don’t know how to love themselves because of these messed up ideas that social media gives them. Social media doesn’t only cause mental illnesses but it gives teens a place to conceal their problems. “For kids experiencing anxiety or depression, carefully edited feeds can act as a smoke screen, masking issues behind pretend perfection and making it harder for parents or friends to see that they need help” (Jacobson). Social media doesn’t show everything, only a morphed version of reality that seems to be the whole truth. Teens struggle with finding the difference between what is shown and what is really happening. Mental problems are one of the most negative side effects of social media.
Social media is harmful to teens by disrupting their academic, changing their social interactions, and worsening their mental health. Media is a distraction to students while they are studying, leading to worse GPAs and less knowledge. Social media is also making it so teens don’t know how to interact without a screen in front of them. Social media is causing struggles with mental health as well. Teens need to look up from their screens and live in the world around them, not the virtual world that was created with social media. When people get off their phones and experience life social media free, they will see improvement in their overall well being.