Dealing with Social Media and Teen Anxiety
Mental health experts agree that social media is causing a rise of anxiety among teenagers and adolescents, at times effecting them so much that they cannot attend school regularly or cope with the everyday challenges of life. Between 1985 and 2016, the number of UCLA freshmen who reported feeling overwhelmed surged from 18 percent, to 41 percent – as an example.
Technology seems to be turning age-old teenage problems into more powerful fuel for teenage insecurities. One study from Britain showed that Instagram was the leading contender for worst effect on the mental health of teens, as it allows teens to filter out the negative aspects of their life and post only what they believe to be “perfect”. Many teens are saying that they are constantly judging their own self-worth through their online presence.
Many of these social media apps are designed to manipulate our brains by hijacking the pleasure center of the brain, which has been proven to have long-term impacts, especially on those already at risk for anxiety.
Some experts agree that in cases, the best way to deal with teen anxieties is by insisting that they face the challenges of the everyday world and handle tasks themselves, rather than coddling them. Exposure therapy exercise have been shown to be effective by forcing anxious teens to push their boundaries.
In cases where exposure therapy may not be readily available, researchers have noted that there are large benefits on teenage mental health with limiting screen time to less than two hours per day, and encouraging the teen to explore the rest of the world.