There is no denying that teenagers are under more pressure than ever before. Teen depression is on the rise, with millions of teens suffering in the United States. One of the potential factors for this increase is the increase in teen’s social media use. Teens are on their phones and other electronic devices around the clock in many cases. This can seem positive at first, in that your teens are connecting with friends in a new way. However, statistics show that this is causing an increase in teen depression. Here are some reasons why this might be happening:
Increased Peer Pressure
We all know how powerful peer pressure can be for teens. Social media takes peer pressure to a whole new level. Social media tends to only show the positive moments in life, creating an unattainable and “perfect” view of life. Teens tend to post pictures of being out with other friends, going to a special event or reaching a milestone. The story that is created can make other teens feel left out, like they cannot possibly keep up and that they are not as popular and “fun” as their classmates.
Decreased Comfort Interacting in Person
One of the most harmful aspects of social media use is the impact it has on a teen’s social skills. If you are concerned that your teen spends more time on their device than interacting in person with family and friends, then you should take notice. This can create isolation and an increased risk of mental health issues like depression.
Social media is a breeding ground for cyberbullying. Teens can quickly and easily spread rumors about others, spread false information, and/or communicate negative and mean messages with the touch of a button. Teens do not always share this information when it happens, and have difficulty navigating these issues alone. Unfortunately, there are too many examples of teens committing suicide after being cyberbullied.
What Can You Do to Help your Teen?
One of the most important things that you can do for your teen is keep the lines of communication open, ask specific questions about their social media use, and limit the amount of time that they can spend on their phone or other devices. Explain to them that no one is perfect and that social media posts are a snapshot, not a full picture.
If you are concerned that your teen is struggling with depression and needs professional assistance, The Forrester Center for Behavioral Health in Spartanburg, SC can help. We offer several comprehensive programs for adolescents and our team has extensive experience reaching teens where they are, developing appropriate treatment plans and communicating clearly with parents every step of the way. Call us at 864-582-7588 to learn more.