Teens spend an average of nine hours a day on electronic devices, much of that on social media networks. Their embrace of wireless devices is one reason for the broad increase in internet network traffic nationally. But what’s the impact of all that social media use on a teen’s psyche?
According to a 2016 UCLA study, social media can stimulate positive feeling in a teen’s brain. When a teen sees their post has been ‘liked,’ their brain’s reward center is especially active, as it would be when seeing a loved one. That goes both ways, however, and teens who visit social media sites for as little as one hour a day are 14% less likely to be satisfied with their lives, according to the study. A recent report published by the IZA Institute of Labor Economics found that cyberbullying and fewer real-life interactions are partly to blame.
Teen girls are especially vulnerable and social media often makes them feel stressed and worried while comparing themselves to friends and celebrities. Movements like #nofilter and #nomakeup have popped up to counter this issue. These hashtag movements encourage girls to post unaltered pics of themselves and feel proud of how they look naturally.
Social media can be both good and bad for the teenage psyche, but it’s definitely not something that’s going away anytime soon.