Teens use of social media could cause mental health issues

U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory report details depression and anxiety as result of excessive social media use

We use our phone for everything from ordering food to getting directions and using social media.

A new Surgeon General advisory warns some teens between the age of 13 and 17 are using social platforms almost constantly.

“I am already seeing the consequences in my practice. We see kids in more trouble socially, more trouble connecting in person,” local licensed clinical social worker Lori Osachy said. “They have a lot of social anxiety because they haven’t practiced as much a face-to-face interaction and sometimes the connecting social media can be beneficial and help them in a different way.” Osachy is seeing the outcome of excessive use in some of her patients.

READ THE REPORT: Social Media and Youth Mental Health, 2023

According to the report there are negative and positive outcomes to using social media.

Negative Outcomes

  • Cyberbullying
  • Poor Sleep
  • Negative Body Image
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Lack of in person social interaction

Positive Outcomes

  • Online social support for peers
  • Social Media Based Health Interventions

“Its not just social media, it’s interacting with the internet in general,” Osachy said. “It is designed to be addictive to pull us in and keep us on longer and children’s brains are not fully developed until they are 25.”

We wanted to hear from local parents. When asked, how do you feel social media plays a role in your child or children’s mental health? One parent said, “horrible & destructive had to remove phone because platforms allow children to reopen accounts after informing TikTok they’re under the age”

Shelby S said, “Children or adults, social media is poison. People will make you believe what they want on these platforms, that’s the world we live in.”

The report suggests there are ways to improve the impact of social media on children; however, lawmakers, social media technology groups, parents and children will have to make proactive steps to reduce the negative impact of social media, keeping children in mind.

Here’s some helpful advice from the U.S. Surgeon General Advisory:

  • Create a social media family plan
  • Create Tech-Free Zones
  • Encourage in-person interaction
  • Be a role model for proper social media use

About the Author:

Veteran journalist and Emmy Award winning anchor