The Dark Side of Social Media Use and Mental Health Among Young Adults

Social Media Use and Mental Health Among Young Adults

Being a parent is hard. Being a parent of an adolescent or young adult is even more challenging. The prevalence of social media use has made this stage of parenting increasingly difficult. You may wonder when or even if you should allow your child to use social media. If you do say yes, the next questions are how to monitor which sites you should let them use, and how to best protect them online. 

Managing your child’s social media use is necessary because their social media use and mental health are related. Social media is also fairly unregulated. At Laguna View Detox, we understand the role that social media can play in mental health and we’re available to help you and your family today. 

What Is Social Media?

Depending on your age, you may remember when social media was just MySpace. Since that time social media sites have exploded. With so many different social media sites and apps available, it’s hard to keep up with what your children are using. Popular social media sites and apps include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, and more. Some apps such as Facebook and Instagram have content that can remain available until deleted or even longer. Other apps such as Snapchat disappear after being viewed or at a specific time. However, other users can record or capture the content before it disappears. What seems to be most challenging for adolescents to understand is that what they post online may have persistent negative consequences. It is essential as parents to ensure children understand this.  

Does Social Media Have a Negative Impact on Young Adults’ Mental Health?

While social media does have positive effects there are risks to its use as well. Social media use can help teens explore their interests and have less stressful interactions than face-to-face socialization. However, time spent scrolling on social media is time spent away from physical activity and face-to-face interactions. Young adults risk judging their self-worth based on the number of “likes” on a post or may hide any cyberbullying they experience. This risk is increased for girls, likely because they mature faster than their male counterparts. 

Researchers have found that the depression teens experience from social media can be cyclical. This means that a teen may become depressed from excessive browsing on Instagram and then respond to this depression by spending more time posting on Instagram. The increased posting leads to more depression and the cycle continues.  This cycle leads to more severe depression and increases the risk of suicide. Girls are at a higher risk of experiencing this, especially those between the ages of 10 and 14. This increased risk may be due to girls’ increased focus and distress around body image. 

In an ideal world parents should establish an open dialogue around social media use and model the behavior they want to see in their children. Talk to your child about the role that social media should and should not play in their lives. Explain the permanency of posting and the importance of being selective in what is posted. Set limits around screen time and keep the conversation going.  Most importantly, keep an eye out for behavior changes and encourage them to participate in activities offline. With the strong tie between social media use and mental health, you can’t afford to ignore it. 

How Laguna View Can Help 

At Laguna View Detox we’re here to support you and your loved ones through depression, anxiety, addiction, and more. We are one of the leading private treatment centers in Orange County, California. We provide luxurious, inpatient treatment in one of the most beautiful areas California has to offer. 

Our staff includes some of the most experienced and most compassionate in the industry, and we’ll create a holistic treatment plan tailored to you. We will care for you through inpatient treatment and aftercare.  Contact us today and let us help you with your addiction!