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Impact of Social Media on Youth

a teen girl holds her smartphone while looking out the window and thinking about the impact of social media on youth

The impact of social media on the youth in our society is a hotly debated topic these days. While some say it is neutral and up to the user, others claim it has negative consequences, especially regarding teenagers’ mental health. There is no doubt that social media plays a significant role in the lives of young people and that its impact should not be underestimated.

While social media is hotly debated, the reality of the mental health crisis in our country is an unfortunate reality. Many look to social media as one of the main culprits since the rise of social media came about around the same time that social media was introduced to young people. If your loved one is struggling with depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues, it is crucial to seek help immediately.

At HillsidesCares, we provide cognitive-behavioral therapy and other treatment methods to help teens heal and develop healthier lifestyle habits that lead to sustainable mental health improvements. Contact our team today at 323.641.4842 for more information.

Social Media and Self-Esteem

There is a growing body of research that suggests that there is a strong link between social media and self-esteem. There are a few ways in which social media can negatively impact self-esteem and mental health in teenagers.

Create a Negative Self Image

Social media can create an unrealistic view of others’ lives. This can lead to comparisons and feelings of inadequacy. Many teens think they are missing out on something and lose a sense of being grateful for their own life when they consistently see the curated images of others’ lives.

Disconnected Communication

Social media can communicate with others in hurtful or damaging ways. Disconnected communication can damage relationships and lead to feelings of insecurity and self-doubt. Many times, these teens would never say things in person that they would say on social media. Social media becomes an unhealthy outlet where bullying and projection can run rampant.


Social media can be addictive and lead to a decreased sense of productivity or accomplishment. This can lead to feelings of inferiority or worthlessness and create increasing feelings of anxiety and depression.

All these factors can impact self-esteem and contribute to anxiety and depression in teenagers. It is crucial for parents and caregivers to be aware of the potential dangers of social media and to help teenagers develop healthy habits when it comes to using social media.

Cultivating Healthier Habits with Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

One way to address this problem is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT is a therapy that helps people change how they think about and behave around certain situations. It can be beneficial in undoing the damage that social media has caused to self-esteem and mental health.

CBT involves meeting with a therapist for a set number of sessions. During these sessions, the therapist will work with you to identify negative thoughts and behaviors contributing to your anxiety or depression. The therapist will help you develop strategies to challenge and change these thoughts and behaviors.

Some of the techniques that you may learn in CBT include:

  • Identifying negative thoughts and replacing them with more positive ones
  • Challenging automatic negative thoughts
  • Changing harmful habits (such as social media time) to decrease anxiety or depression
  • Teaching relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises, meditation, and mindfulness

One of the main reasons why CBT is so effective is because it teaches you how to control and change your thoughts. Once you finish CBT, you should have the skills to manage your thoughts and emotions in a healthy way for the rest of your life.

Overcoming the Pull of Social Media at HillsidesCares

At HillsidesCares, we understand social media’s damaging effects and addictive nature. Our evidence-based CBT services can help awaken and teach your teen about the realities of social media use while fostering a new, healthier, and more positive mindset that understands how to be more present in life. For more information, reach out to our team to learn more about the impact of social media on youth and how we can help your teen heal from the damaging effects of social media. Call us at 323.641.4842.