Good and Bad Effects of Social Media on Teenagers and Children - Raise a Smart Kid (2023)

Updated June 25, 2022
by Ronald Tumbokon

Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites are a godsend for kids and teens who want to stay in touch and know what's going on with their friends or relatives. By simply opening an app or website, they can communicate with and learn more about everyone they care about (at least those who are connected to the same network).

(Video) The Very Real Damage That Social Media Does to Kids

Why is social media bad for kids?

But like many things people are passionate about, there are critics of the use of social media. When it comes to children and young people, many studies argue that social media has a negative impact on children's psyches - and the damage can be irreversible and long-term. On the other hand, proponents are quick to point out that on social media, kids are increasing their social interaction as they rewire their brains to adapt to new technologies.

Bad effects of social media on children and young people

The only common bad effect of social media is addiction - constantly checking Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or other social media updates. Experts believe that knowing what's going on with friends and what they're thinking or feeling can be addictive. Researchers at UCLA's Brain Mapping Center found that being "liked" on social media was seen in brain scans to activate the brain's reward centers. This reward circuit is particularly sensitive during adolescence, and this may partially explain why teens like social media more.

(Video) Impact of Social Media on Youth | Katanu Mbevi | TEDxYouth@BrookhouseSchool

For children and teens, knowing how many people liked their posts, how many followed (or unfollowed) them, and what people are saying about them also leads to compulsive review. This social media addiction can get in the way of other meaningful activities like focusing on schoolwork, reading, or exercising. Most common social media users admit that they check their social media feeds over 100 times a day, sometimes even during school.

(Video) When Is Your Brain Ready for Social Media?

The harmful effects of social networks on children and adolescents, according to psychologists or scientific studies, are as follows:

  • A2015 UK Office for National Statisticsfound that children who spend more than 3 hours per school day on social media sites are twice as likely to have mental health problems. Immersion in a virtual world can delay these children's emotional and social development. According to the report, social media is potentially "a source of social comparison, cyberbullying and isolation," which can lead to mental health problems.
  • AMessageA study published by the IZA Institute for Labor Economics even suggests that just one hour a day on social media can make a teenager miserable. The study also theorized that this could be caused by cyberbullying issues, an increase in social comparisons, and a decrease in real-life personal activities.
  • OthersStudy 2015from the British Psychological Society finds that teens who have to respond to social media (such as posts, replies to texts and direct messages) throughout the day are impacting their mental health.
  • A University of Michiganto studyseem to indicate that Facebook use leads to a decline in subjective well-being among young adults. The more young adults use Facebook, the worse they feel from moment to moment and the more dissatisfied with their lives in general.
  • Um Wall Street Journal 2021Articlerevealed that Facebook's own research shows Instagram (which is owned by Facebook) is toxic to teenage girls. For one in three teens, social media makes their body image issues worse, and while they know what they see is bad for their mental health, they can't stop using it. Worse, 6% of suicidal American girls blame Instagram for wanting to kill themselves. (However, this has been disputed byFacebook.)
  • Teens, especially girls, are sensitive to social influences, and this peer sensitivity can lead to obsessive thoughts about body image, status, and popularity.
  •, "one of the world's leading organizations for youth and social change",Listenvarious negative effects of social media including sleep disorders, depression, addiction, 24/7 stress, isolation, self-doubt and fear of missing out (FOMO).
  • FOMO, or the fear of missing out on something important (like your friends' jokes, parties, activities, and other forms of entertainment) leads to depression and anxiety in teenage social media users, according to a studyOpinion pollproduced by the Australian Psychological Society. FOMO is one of the main reasons teens use social media extensively.
  • a 2019to studyat the University of Montreal found that taking different types of screen time, including gamingvideo games, Social media is more likely to be associated with depressive symptoms in adolescents. This is because on popular teen platforms, particularly Instagram, teens are likely to compare their lives to idealized images on their feeds, encouraging upward social comparisons. This often makes them feel inadequate and bad.
  • Instagram in particular can be badTeenage girlsbecause it leads to more comparisons between yourself and others. These comparisons may not even be based on reality since Instagram images undergo filters, makeup, lighting, angles, and other manipulations. In addition, functional MRI scans show that "likes" affect part of the brain's reward circuitry, associating the image with being better. It is said that Instagram attracts more girls than boys.
  • Among social media, Instagram was considered the worst for teen mental health, according to a study.Opinion poll. Instagram and Snapchat are very image-oriented and seem to evoke feelings of inadequacy and fear in young people.
  • Also use Instagram and Snapchatwas foundevoke problematic digital behaviors in children under 11 years of age. They likely only have online friends, visit websites their parents would disapprove of, and engage in online harassment.
  • On-screen relationships distract from time spent in real-life relationships and from developing social skills. AccordinglyPatricia Greenfield, professor of psychology at UCLA College, her research found that people who use digital media for social interactions spend less time developing social skills and learning to read nonverbal cues. "Social interaction is necessary to develop skills to understand other people's emotions."
  • The result of a survey byUniversity of Glasgowshows that social media use, mainly at night, with high emotional involvement resulted in poorer sleep quality, lower self-esteem, and higher levels of anxiety. This can be a problem as teens with low self-esteem grow into depressed adults, according to previous studies.
  • Social media is breeding grounds for bad influencers and anonymous poisons and hunting grounds for deviants and other predators.
  • There are also a number of prominent “influencers” on social media who actually get paid to promote products, events and services. Teenagers can have trouble distinguishing between real advertising and false information and authentic information.
  • For kids who crave attention, Facebook and other social media are becoming a place to perform. These children can make inappropriate statements, photos and videos that can harm them. Also, posts and materials published online are usually permanent and may be tracked in the future.
  • Young people with a history of self-harm or attempted suicide may be particularly vulnerable to negative messages posted online, new research shows. The review 2017, published in the magazinePLUS ONE, found that children and young adults who have thoughts of self-harm or suicide actually spend more time online and are more likely to be bullied online than their peers who do not have such thoughts.
  • A number of studies, including those ofSan Diego State Universitysuggests that more screen time and social media may have led to increases in depression and suicide among American teens. The study also found that people who spend less time on screens and more time in face-to-face social interactions are less likely to be depressed or suicidal.
  • Some children find that spending too much time on social media is a waste of time, which negatively impacts their mood.
  • Selfies, which became popular with the advent of camera phones, can trigger mental health issues when a person becomes obsessed with looks.The mirror, for example, recently featured a selfie addict trying to kill himself because he wasn't able to get a perfect picture. According to Pamela Rutledge inpsychology today, “Taking selfies can be a visible indicator that a young person lacks confidence or self-esteem, which can also make them a victim of other problems. Taking excessive and increasingly provocative selfies is a form of "acting out," a common behavior to gain attention.
  • Educators also point out that there are no spelling and grammar rules for children and young people in social networks. It's actually nice to spell it wrong and make no sense. Less experienced children will find it difficult to differentiate between communication on social media and communication in the real world. In fact, many teachers complain that social media communication infiltrates students' school writing with misspellings and poor grammar.
  • Social media habits are tooguiltyfor sleep deprivation and sleep problems in adolescents. The bright light emitted by smartphones and tablets is believed to disrupt the sleep cycle. For young people, sleep is important for learning, young brain development, growth, and staying healthy.
  • A study published in the medical journalJAMAsuggests that the more teens check social media and stream videos, the more likely they are to develop symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, which causes less attention or distraction.

(Video) Wellbeing For Children: Confidence And Self-Esteem
  • Baronesa Susan Greenfield, a leading neuroscientist at the University of Oxford, warns of the lifelong effects of too much social media. Facebook and other social media sites "infantilize the brain into the state of young children, drawn to buzzing noises and bright lights, who have short attention spans and live in the moment." Little concentration is required to participate in these social media platforms media sites, and they train the brain for poor attention span.
  • Children are prevented from learning to communicate in the real world. There are reports from teachers that social media interferes with children's understanding. Also, if children communicate primarily through the screen, they won't learn the subtleties of real-life communication—like body language, tone of voice, and the subconscious perception of the molecules that other people are releasing.
  • Social media sites make kids more self-centered. Because Instagram and other websites give kids a page about them, it leads some at-risk children to think it's all about them, a harbinger of emotional trouble later in life. This can also lead to an inability to empathize.
  • These sites make children susceptible to sensationalism.
  • A study by a team of economists from the University of Sheffield shows that the more time children spend chatting on Facebook, Snapchat, WhatsApp and Instagram, the more dissatisfied they are with their schoolwork, the school they go to, how they look, their family and more your life in general. Children see their friends portraying themselves in an idealized state when they post on social media. A vulnerable teenager might suffer from depression reading great things that are happening with their friends and their life isn't that great in comparison. This effect was worse for those who lacked self-confidence. However, the study also found that teens on social media felt happier with their friendships.
  • Pediatricians discover some teens suffer from 'Facebook Depression'. After spending a lot of time on Facebook and other popular social networks, some teenagers become anxious and moody. Again, this appears to be caused by exposure to friends whose idealized portrayal of their lives seems superior to theirs. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), teens who suffer from "Facebook depression" often have problems with social interactions in general.
  • 2021 young TikTok usersYou have been founddevelop tics and have tic-like attacks. This movement disorder may have been caused by stress and anxiety, likely exacerbated by excessive social media consumption as well as the COVID pandemic.
  • When children are involved in extracurricular activities, they are likely to feel happier and healthier than children glued to a screen, ato studyfinds (provided they like sports)

Good effect of social media on children and young people

On the other hand, other specialists such asMacArthur Foundationsee that differently. They claim that children and young people develop important technical and social skills online in ways that adults do not understand or appreciate. It makes your child's life interesting as it increases their awareness of other people's thoughts and feelings. This connects him to personalities and influencers from whom he can learn:

(Video) Sorry, Kids Should NOT Have Smartphones.

  • Mizuko Ito of the University of California explains that "spending time online is essential for young people to acquire the software and technical skills needed to be competent citizens in the digital age". Children learn basic social and technical skills to fully participate in modern society. Children learn to adapt to ongoing public socialization and to manage a sophisticated network of friends and acquaintances.
  • Social networks bring children closer together. Young people are motivated to learn online from their peers. They interact and get feedback from each other. They are motivated to learn more from each other than from adults. Teachers and adults are no longer the only sources of knowledge.
  • It connects kids more than ever. It's easier for kids to befriend people around the world, most of whom they'll never meet without these technological advances.
  • Children are communicating and interacting more than ever.
  • Social media makes it much easier to connect with long-lost friends and family, as well as new friends. Also, due to the hustle and bustle of modernity, it's harder to see people in person or reach them by phone. Social networks are a great alternative to always be connected.
  • Social media really does make kids more relational, thoughtful, and assertive. Children remember and greet people's birthdays. They comment on their friends' photos, videos and statuses. They build lasting friendships by staying in touch online, even when friends no longer see each other physically.
  • According to this, some psychologists encourage children with anxiety and depression to use Instagram and Snapchat to build relationships with their peersArticle.
  • Children and young people have a way of sharing achievements with their friends that they can be proud of and may inspire and motivate other children.
  • Professor Larry Rosen notes that teenagers develop the ability to display virtual empathy for distressed Facebook friends, and that empathy is actually welcomed by friends and affects their mood positively. This virtual empathy, he says, can even spill over into the real world, teaching teenagers how to empathize with others in everyday life.
  • Kids can express their creativity with a social app like TikTok, where they can create videos, often lip-sync or dance to popular songs. TikTok's editing features allow kids to create and edit professional-looking videos.
  • ÖThe British Medical Journal contradicts Susan Greenfield's claimthat prolonged computer use can trigger "autism-like traits" and aggression, and that their claims are unsupported by scientific data. Instead, it found that social networking "improves existing friendships and the quality of relationships, although some individuals benefit more than others."
  • Finally a 2019to studyA survey of 12,000 British teenagers suggests that there is little effect on adolescent life satisfaction among those who use social media above average.

How parents can make the most of their children's use of social media

  • Educate your child about the risks of social media and how it can be both harmful and helpful. For example, teach your child about the danger of "over sharing."
  • Encourage your child to spend more time—a lot more time—in real communication instead of “social media communication.”
  • Tell your child to spend more time in real friendships and activities - Face-to-face interaction is deeper and warmer than online friendships. Your child will learn more social skills by connecting with their friends and communicating face to face. Online friendships don't teach your child to listen for subtle voice cues, interpret body language, and adapt to different personalities—skills that are often important for surviving in the real world.
  • Encourage your child's other passions or interests – Instead of constantly telling your child to stop going online, discover their other interests and encourage them. Examples include exercise, playing a musical instrument, writing, crafts, etc. Plan these real-life activities for him or support him when he is involved in non-online activities that are important to him.
  • Suggest your child use social media to enhance their learning, collaborate with their peers, not just "go out" and spout nonsense. Teach your child to distinguish between substance and trash. They must also warn you not to engage in the dark side of social media such as cyberbullying, stalking, sharing inappropriate material, etc.
  • Whenever possible, supervise your child's online activities to protect them from online predators and other dangers - Don't be fooled into thinking your child is online for research and schoolwork. You constantly need to know what your child is doing online or in front of the computer.
  • Help your child understand what happens to their food. Check with her who she follows and how she feels about the account she follows. Be especially concerned if these accounts post content that influences untruths, half-truths, unhealthy thoughts, and behaviors. On the other hand, accept and respond positively when she follows people and accounts that are making a positive impact and motivating her to be better and live a better life.growth thinking.
  • If your child is concerned that their friends seem to have better lives than they do, remind them that their friends' pictures and posts are curated and do not represent the full life story of their friends and are likely to only share the best parts. Tell your child to spend less time scrolling through their feed when they're unhappy
  • Join the social media your child is on to get a feel for how they work and the impact they can have on your child. If possible, also follow your child to be informed about their online activities.
  • When you go into your child's social network, just be on the lookout or be a silent, watchful friend. They may like it but avoid or refrain from commenting as it may put them and their online friends off.
  • Emphasize to your child the difference between real and online relationships — for example, having 500 friends on Facebook doesn't necessarily mean they're popular.
  • At an age when your child can easily fall victim to bad influences online, make the computer screen visible to you by placing your child in a spot where you walk regularly. Don't put it in a hidden corner or angle.
  • If your child seems upset after looking at their phone or device, ask them about it. A CNN study shows that when parents are involved in their children's social media activities, their children become less upset about what's happening to them online.
  • Emphasize to your child the difference between writing and spelling for social media and writing in the real world.
  • As with anything, use social media sparingly. It cannot replace real relationships and other worthwhile activities like reading books and exercising.
  • Limit the time your child has access to screens or social media. Ask her to leave her phone where you can see when she is doing her homework and when she should sleep at night.
  • Use apps that allow you to limit your child's social media time or track their online activities. Check your child's social media settings to see if there is a way to restrict the collection of social media information about your child.

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What are the positive and negative impacts of social media on our children? ›

Social media can be a useful tool for interaction, learning, communication, and entertainment. Misuse or excessive use of social media can lead to negative consequences such as cyberbullying, anxiety, and health problems.

How social media affects kids in a positive way? ›

Social media allows children and teens to stay in touch with their classmates and other activities and also enables them to network with those who otherwise share their interests. Research shows social media helps develop stronger links to friends in a similar way to in-person interactions.

Is social media good or bad for children? ›

It can distract from other activities, such as schoolwork, athletics, study, and valuable habits. They waste a significant amount of time each day, which can result in low academic performance. Screen relationships can also harm children and teenagers' real-life connections and social skills.

What is the positive and negative effect of social media? ›

While social media provides many benefits, such as giving students the chance to express themselves creatively, learning opportunities, and the chance to connect with others, social media can also have a negative impact on students, both physically and mentally.

What are the positives of media on children? ›

Via media, children gain access to significant educational, creative, artistic, communication, and recreational opportunities that they would not otherwise have. For example, access to online books, pictures, blogs, documentary films and music enables kids to learn about different cultures around the world.

What are the cons of social media for kids? ›

Drawbacks of Social Media:

Kids are becoming addicted to social media and are refusing to participate in outdoor activities. Social media addiction impacts children's academic performance. It also poses a major distraction during family functions.

What are the major positive effect of social media? ›

The positive aspects of social media

Social media enables you to: Communicate and stay up to date with family and friends around the world. Find new friends and communities; network with other people who share similar interests or ambitions. Join or promote worthwhile causes; raise awareness on important issues.

Why social media is good for teens? ›

Social media allows teens to create online identities, communicate with others and build social networks. These networks can provide teens with valuable support, especially helping those who experience exclusion or have disabilities or chronic illnesses.

Is social media good or bad for teens? ›

The Cons of Social Media: Bullying, FOMO, and Mental Health Issues. All of that said, social media can be dangerous for teens too. It can lead to anxiety, assist in cyberbullying, and play a part in influencing bad behavior. As Mendez explains: “Social media can have some very negative effects too.

Why should kids not be on social media? ›

As well as affecting children's outside image, social media also affects children's mental health. Those who grew up on social media are more susceptible to anxiety, depression, and other psychological disorders.

Why is social media good for students? ›

Young people can leverage their interest in social media to promote learning, creative self expression, and civic engagement. Students can be socially connected with a world of ideas and a world of possibilities. They can make productive use of these tools to conduct research, reach out to experts, and ask questions.

What are the benefits of social media for students? ›

Social media, when used in a responsible and age-appropriate way, can help children learn, think critically and build the skills they need for the future. Social media helps children communicate, share and learn, and offers opportunity for children to practice key 21st century skills they will use into the future.

How does social media affect education? ›

Social media use has both positive and negative effects. However, the negative effects are more pronounced because students tend to use such platforms to have fun and pass time rather than for academic purposes. This may distract them from learning and academic activities.

What are 3 pros and 3 cons of social media? ›

Pros & Cons of Social Media
Put yourself out there in a good wayPosting inappropriate statuses/pictures
Connect with students in other educational systemsMaking people feel bad about themselves
Make new friends/communicate or connect with old friends/familyCyberbullying
15 more rows

What are 3 advantages and 3 disadvantages of social media? ›

Top 10 Advantages and Disadvantages of Social Media
Pros of Social MediaCons of Social Media
Social Media Can Reach Large AudiencesSocial Media Causes Sleep Issues
Government Benefits from Social MediaSocial Media Cause Depression and Loneliness
Entertainment with Social MediaSocial Media Causes Distraction
7 more rows

What are 4 effects of media on society? ›

This influence can be negative or positive. The negative effects of mass media on society can lead people towards poverty, crime, nudity, violence, bad mental and physical health disorders and others as such severe outcomes.

Why is social media important in our life? ›

Social media is an important part of today's world. It helps people stay connected and share ideas, thoughts, and opinions with others in a safe and secure environment. It can also be used to promote businesses, organizations, and causes, as well as to stay informed about current events and trends.

What are 3 reasons kids should have social media? ›

Social media is a big part of social and creative life for many pre-teens and teenagers. Social media benefits include connection, learning and creativity.

What are four advantages of using social media in school? ›

Advantages of using social media in education
  • Connect students with resources from experts around the world.
  • Facilitate communication and collaboration between classmates.
  • Provide a platform for sharing information and ideas.
Sep 7, 2022

What are five 5 +/- impacts of media on children? ›

Overuse of digital media may place your children at risk of:
  • Not enough sleep. Media use can interfere with sleep. ...
  • Obesity. ...
  • Delays in learning & social skills. ...
  • Negative effect on school performance. ...
  • Behavior problems. ...
  • Problematic internet use. ...
  • Risky behaviors. ...
  • Sexting, loss of privacy & predators.
Jul 20, 2022

What are the 6 dangers of social media? ›

The dangers
  • cyberbullying (bullying using digital technology)
  • invasion of privacy.
  • identity theft.
  • your child seeing offensive images and messages.
  • the presence of strangers who may be there to 'groom' other members.

What are 3 disadvantages of social media? ›

Cons: Why is social media bad?
  • Online vs Reality. Social media itself is not the problem. ...
  • Increased usage. The more time spent on social media can lead to cyberbullying, social anxiety, depression, and exposure to content that is not age appropriate.
  • Social Media is addicting. ...
  • Fear of Missing Out. ...
  • Self-image issues.

How does social media affect self esteem? ›

Research shows that the more time people spend on Facebook and Instagram, the more they compare themselves socially. This social comparison is linked, among other things, to lower self-esteem and higher social anxiety.

How does social media affect teens mental health? ›

Research has shown that young adults who use social media are three times as likely to suffer from depression, putting a large portion of the population at risk for suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

How is social media addictive? ›

Social media platforms drive surges of dopamine to the brain to keep consumers coming back over and over again. The shares, likes and comments on these platforms trigger the brain's reward center, resulting in a high similar to the one people feel when gambling or using drugs.”

What are 5 advantages of social media in teaching and learning? ›

Benefits and Challenges of Using Social Media in the Classroom
  • Learn new digital literacy skills.
  • Improve knowledge retention & understanding.
  • Increase class participation and motivate students.
  • Build community; connect students to each and the global community.
  • Become an effective member of an online community.

How social media influence students behavior? ›

Given the positive and negative emotional effects of social media, social media can either scaffold the emotional repertoire of students, which can develop positive emotions in learners, or induce negative provokers in them, based on which learners might feel negative emotions such as anxiety and depression.

Is social media helpful or harmful? ›

Although there are important benefits, social media can also provide platforms for bullying and exclusion, unrealistic expectations about body image and sources of popularity, normalization of risk-taking behaviors, and can be detrimental to mental health.

What are the negative impacts of social media on children? ›

Social media affects teenagers' mental health negatively by limiting direct contact with peers and encouraging constant comparison online, which can lead to low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression.

What negative effects does social media have on children? ›

Daily overuse of media and technology has a negative effect on the health of all children, preteens and teenagers by making them more prone to anxiety, depression, and other psychological disorders, as well as by making them more susceptible to future health problems.

What are the negative effects of social media on children's behavior? ›

Too much time on social media can lead to bullying, depression, and anxiety. Spending more than four hours a day online significantly increases a child's risk of becoming hyperactive and inattentive, and decreases feelings of self-worth. Social media may be one of the main factors affecting children's mental health.

What are 3 reasons kids should not have social media? ›

Cyberbullying. Online predators. Sharing too much information. False marketing.

What are the positive effects of social media? ›

The positive aspects of social media

Social media enables you to: Communicate and stay up to date with family and friends around the world. Find new friends and communities; network with other people who share similar interests or ambitions. Join or promote worthwhile causes; raise awareness on important issues.

What are two negative impacts of media towards children? ›

Media use also can expose kids to cyberbullying, which has been linked to depression and suicide. And media use can distract kids from important tasks, interfere with homework time, and hurt school performance. It can limit quality family time and make kids feel lonely or isolated.

How social media affects the school? ›

Too much use of social media can have adverse effects on students' minds, and they may also be exposed to bad posture, eye strain, and physical and mental stress.

What are the benefits of media for kids? ›

Via media, children gain access to significant educational, creative, artistic, communication, and recreational opportunities that they would not otherwise have. For example, access to online books, pictures, blogs, documentary films and music enables kids to learn about different cultures around the world.

Is social media good or bad for students? ›

However, social media use can also negatively affect teens, distracting them, disrupting their sleep, and exposing them to bullying, rumor spreading, unrealistic views of other people's lives and peer pressure. The risks might be related to how much social media teens use.


1. Teen Voices: Oversharing and Your Digital Footprint
(Common Sense Education)
2. 5 Crazy Ways Social Media Is Changing Your Brain Right Now
3. How Social Media is Destroying Society
(Common Knowledge)
4. Is Social Media Hurting Your Mental Health? | Bailey Parnell | TEDxRyersonU
(TEDx Talks)
5. How To Win Friends And Influence People Audiobook
(The Travel Hunts)
6. 8 Lessons You Should Avoid Teaching Children


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