End the Screen Routine

The highly addictive nature of social media sites has led to an increase in the number of youths becoming obsessed with and being hurt by these sites. Social media has turned from a way to keep in touch with friends and family to an often toxic platform where teens can be thrown into issues like mental health problems, lowered self esteem and physical safety concerns.

According to the National Library of Medicine, “In the US, the proportion of young people between the ages of 13 and 17 years who have a smartphone has reached 89 percent, more than doubling over a six-year period; moreover, 70 percent of teenagers use social media multiple times per day, up from a third of teens in 2012.” With the amount of time that teenagers spend on social media on the rise, it is easy for teens to fall victim to the negative effects of social media.

A study released by the JAMA Psychiatry Network found that “Adolescents who spend more than three hours per day on social media may be at heightened risk for mental health problems, particularly internalizing problems.” This study also describes a rise in mental health issues amongst adolescents in recent years, which has lead to increased rates of suicide attempts and deaths amongst adolescents.

A study published in the Australian Journal of Psychology links the use of social networking sites (SNS) with lower self esteem in teenagers. The study states, “SNS investment was a significant negative predictor of self‐esteem. The more adolescents were invested in their SNS, the lower their self‐esteem.” As teenagers’ social media use increases, their average self-reported levels of self-esteem decreases.

While social media can cause many detriments to the mental health of users, it can also pose risks to physical safety. The National Safety Council estimates that about 1.6 million car crashes per year happen as a result of being on a phone while driving. By actively working to reduce social media and phone addiction as a whole, these numbers can be reduced.

With social media addiction on the rise among adolecents, it is important to take steps to work towards less social media usage in daily life. Some ways to do this include setting boundaries for the amount of time an individual allows themselves to spend on social media each day, disabling notifications from social media apps, going on a social media detox, and spending time doing other hobbies and activities.

Using social media in a more positive way is a good way to limit the detriments caused by social media as a whole. By using social media to reach out to loved ones and sharing content that is encouraging and joyful, individuals can work to combat the negative effects of social media usage.