Do You Recognize the Negative Effects of Social Media on Youth?

While the statistics surrounding the positive and negative effects of social media are inconclusive, there are links between increased use of social media and depression.

According to Childmind.org, teenage and young adults (who make up the highest number of users on platforms like Instagram and Facebook) report 13-66% higher rates of depression than those who spent the least time on social media.

Positive Effects of Social Media

Improves communication skills — Youth find communities or create new ones of their own, where they engage in their hobbies and make new friends.

Provides an outlet for self-expression — Youth create and share their own ideas through posting videos, art, and more.

Dangers of Social Media

Focusing on likes — Likes on social media platforms activate the reward center of the brain. Content, regardless of whether it’s positive or negative, activates the reward center of the brain when it’s liked.

Making fake friends — There is no privacy online. People who don’t know youth can share their content for either positive or negative reasons.

Engaging in comparison — While most youth are aware that what they’re seeing on social media accounts are highlight reels, it’s hard for them not to compare themselves with others.

Weakening of face-to-face social skills — Knowing how to interact face-to-face is an essential skill that needs to be practiced. More time online means less time learning how to read facial cues.

Cyberbullying — Comments and pictures posted online are often permanent. Unlike bullying, it’s not possible to run away from cyberbullying and escape the negative comments posted by others online.

What You Can Do

Encourage youth to get involved in activities away from a screen. Consider using a web filter that can catch negative activities on social media platforms, like inline content detection filtering. Inline content detection filtering looks for keywords such as “suicide” and sends an alert when they are used. Web filters such as Netsweeper also categorize online content into categories such as Hate Speech, Extreme, Criminal Skills, Weapons, and Profanity, all of which can lead towards bullying behavior.

Want to learn more about the effects of social media on youth? Stay tuned for our upcoming suicide awareness whitepaper.

What negative effects of social media on youth have you witnessed? Let us know in the comments section below.