The Dangers of Social Media on Teen Mental Health

A teen checks social media on his phone

The Dangers of Social Media on Teen Mental Health

Social media is virtually impossible to escape these days, especially for teenagers. With the vast majority of teenagers on the major social media platforms and many checking them every day, some pretty unhealthy habits are starting to form across an entire generation.

Dealing with teenagers coming through at Viewpoint, we have noticed an impact on mental health connected to social media. While there are some benefits to learning technical skills and forming connections through this new type of technology, there are negatives that we must treat as well. Here are a few of the negative impacts we have noticed with teenagers and social media.


Researchers are still trying to figure out the direct connection between depression and social media, but it is impossible to ignore the impact that social media can have. Why does this happen to be the case? Teenagers who are feeling lonely and not satisfied with traditional social activity will turn to social media as an outlet. Unfortunately, while it might seem like there is interaction with social media, it only intensifies the feeling of being alone.

There is also the effect of seeing others out there having fun and success in their life. The appearance on social media does not always directly reflect how things are going in the real world. However, for someone who is already dealing with some level of depression, this can only make things worse. Envy starts to even show in some situations, which is a tough problem for teenagers constantly comparing themselves to everyone else. If the mind feels down already, seeing enviable situations will not help.

Sleep Deprivation

It is so easy to take a smartphone virtually anywhere. In fact, many teenagers will fall asleep with their smartphone right next to them on the bed. Staying up for an extended amount of time will lead to sleep deprivation, which can cause an assortment of issues along the way.

Anything from weight issues to moodiness can stem from sleep deprivation. Teenagers need their rest to grow and mature appropriately during this time in their life. It may seem like missing out on an hour or two here and there will not amount to much, but it starts to snowball into a bigger problem.


To be an active member of social media, teenagers must put in a good amount of time. This means posting the right amount, responding quickly to messages, and being thoughtful at all times. While this might not seem like a huge situation, there is heightened anxiety when a teenager feels like they need to perform in some way for their audience.

Teenagers who achieve some level of fame on social media have this heightened anxiety even more. If they fail to live up to expectations, their social media platform could come crashing down. All of a sudden, every post becomes heavily edited, and it feels much like a job.

It might seem like a dream come true to have a decent amount of friends and followers, but there becomes this constant pressure of being better and better. Even social media celebrities with millions and millions of followers have talked candidly about anxiety taking over. For impressionable teenagers, it becomes an even bigger issue.

Click here to learn more about how Teenagers can manage anxiety

Communication breakdown

It might seem ironic in some ways, but social media is not exactly the most social. In fact, it has led to communication breakdown and general communication issues for teenagers over the years. Simply put, discussions and interactions online are not the same as in person.

One major aspect of communication that people miss out on through social media is non-verbal cues. Whether it is facial expressions, hand gestures, and more, it is effortless to tell tone in person compared to online. Miscommunication can lead to drama online, all because the non-verbal queues did not tell the whole story.

How Viewpoint Helps

Our team at Viewpoint understands that these issues are not going away, with social media only growing more and more. The negative impacts are real but also manageable. Students who have problems will get help in the residential program to help stop the root of some problems.

Beyond social media issues, we also offer comprehensive assessments to lead to every teenager’s proper treatment. It is vital to get the assessment right to speed up the recovery process as much as possible. When teenagers see that something is actually working, it keeps them engaged and motivated to stick with it.

Here on our website, families can set up a meeting time to go over any questions they might have for the staff at this time. There are also resources to learn more about the effectiveness of Viewpoint Center for previous teens.