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Are Social Media Use and Mental Health Related?

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 We’re also here to support you in understanding the treatment and your role in the process as you support your teen. Contact us today so that we can partner with you and your teen to find a way forward. 

 How social media use and mental health interrelate is a question that continues to be studied. 

With smartphones in the hands of nearly every teen, their access to social media has ballooned. At the same time, new social media apps have appeared, and others have become less popular. Keeping up with what’s available to your teen can be challenging enough, but you also have to consider the interplay between social media use and mental health. Teen social media use is undoubtedly a minefield. Talking to your teen early and often about the appropriate use of social media is crucial. 

Much like substance use and sex, talking about social media with your teen requires an ongoing dialogue. At Thrive Treatment, we understand how overwhelming it can feel to navigate the social media world with your teen. We know how social media can affect mental health, and we are here to provide the support your teen needs. 

The Different Forms of Social Media Used Amongst Teens

Some days it may feel overwhelming even to understand what forms of social media are available to your teen. While teen social media use previously focused only on Facebook, the social media landscape has changed. 

Researchers now find that teen use of Facebook has decreased, and most teens use Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, and YouTube. Snapchat can be particularly concerning because of the app’s disappearing messages. It’s virtually impossible to monitor its use as a parent without using an additional monitoring app. And while you can monitor more of what your teen does on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube, there are still dangers. It is essential to understand the security and privacy features available within each app and help your teen securely create their account. It is also vital to set up rules in advance so that your teen understands your expectations. 

Are Social Media Use and Mental Health Related?

How social media use and mental health interrelate is a question that continues to be studied. One of the key determining factors is whether social media is being used to interact or not. Those who take in the posts of others more passively report decreases in life satisfaction compared with those who actively interact or post their content. In addition to the concerns around how teens view the postings of others, there are a lot of opportunities for parents to educate about what should and should not be shared on social media. 

Teens are more impulsive, which can lead to their posting more private or personal information that can lead to bullying or harassment. As a parent, you’ll need to educate your teen about social media and help them to create healthy boundaries around its use. In addition, you want to help them create a healthy attitude around it use and its place within our lives. As you carry on a dialogue with your teen about social media use and mental health, you may want to include tips such as:

  • Turning off notifications
  • Taking breaks and having “do not disturb” hours
  • Limiting followers and using enhanced priority settings
  • Eliminating interactions that are unhealthy
  • Tracking screen time
  • Balancing screen time with in-person activities
  • Examples of healthy social media use

Social media can be a tool your teen leverages to explore areas of interest and hobbies, but only if they use it appropriately. More than anything, your teen needs to understand that social media is a part of life, not life. 

How To Get My Teen Help With Their Mental Health 

At Thrive Treatment, our treatment approach blends modern and traditional practices. We can help your teen by integrating relational and behavioral therapies and holistic, medical, and psychiatric interventions. Located in beautiful Santa Monica, we will develop an individualized plan to help your teen through any mental health disorders, including addiction, during inpatient treatment and beyond. We’re also here to support you in understanding the treatment and your role in the process as you support your teen. Contact us today so that we can partner with you and your teen to find a way forward. 

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