What is the Relationship Between Cell Phones and Mental Health in Teens?
If you have ever wondered about social media affecting mental health, you are not alone. Many users, teachers, family members, and scientists have studied the way in which social media can have a positive or negative impact on personal well-being. By learning more about the relationship between cell phones and mental health in teens, you can better find treatment when necessary.
What is the Relationship Between Cell Phones and Mental Health in Teens
Social media can promote many negative consequences:
- Firstly, looking at images on social media and not recognizing that they are manipulated or the highlights from someone’s last few weeks can make individuals feel dissatisfied or inadequate about how they look, how they think, what they do, or their appearance.
- Secondly, social media encourages the symptoms of fear of missing out, often called FOMO. Part of this begins when you see other people having fun or being more productive or healthier than you. It triggers anxiety and low self-esteem because you are worried that you are missing out on something great. The other side of FOMO refers to constantly staying on social media out of fear you’ll miss something funny, interesting, or otherwise newsworthy. Often, social media moves so quickly many may feel missing out on a “moment” if they log off for an extended time. In either of these scenarios, you compulsively check social media regularly, which only worsens the problem.
- Similarly, it increases feelings of loneliness and isolation and decreases overall well-being. Individuals need face-to-face contact to improve mental health, reduce stress, and boost mood. Still, when people prioritize social media instead of in-person interactions, it increases depression and anxiety.
What Mental Health Disorders Can Be Worsened by Social Media
Multiple studies have found that social media can worsen many feelings of loneliness, inadequacy, self-harm, isolation, or self-absorption, but in particular, how does social media affect mental health? There is strong evidence that it exacerbates depression and anxiety disorders.
What are Healthy Social Media Habits
Many people use their devices without considering the impact of social media on mental health, so it’s important to cultivate healthy habits to limit social media’s impact on mental health problems.
Take Time Away
Too much cell phone interaction can negatively impact how you feel about yourself, how you think about your life, how happy you are with your decisions, and even how well you sleep at night or how active and productive you are during the day. Don’t let social media be the first thing you check when you wake up or the last thing you look at before you go to bed. Choose a specific time to be offline, like your weekends, evenings, or holidays. Integrate time away from all social media regularly.
Limit Screen Time
When you use social media, remember that social media affecting mental health is serious, and it can be detrimental. So, limit the amount of screen time you have. If you find it difficult to do this alone, there are often options in the phone settings or third-party apps that can help you set time limits. Do things like establishing a 2-minute timer if you go on social media without a purpose so that you don’t end up scrolling endlessly for more than a few minutes at a time. Turn off any notifications on your devices and always log out at the end of each session. If you can’t easily click on an app and immediately see everything everyone else has posted, you will think twice about spending your downtime automatically checking social media without a purpose.
Use Social Media with Purpose
Tangentially, try only to use social media for a purpose. Use it intentionally. Don’t go on social media platforms unless you have something you are looking for, unless you want to check up on friends and family, or unless you want to post something specific.
Don’t Use Social Media for Comparisons
Anyone who has questioned the relationship between cell phones and mental health has probably seen the negative impact of social media and comparisons. It’s all too common for people to immediately jump on social media, see a post from a friend, co-worker, or even a famous individual, and make a comparison. This can exacerbate mental health problems making people who are depressed or anxious feel even worse about themselves. But it’s important to remember that you see what people have curated for you to see whenever you go onto social media.
A good tip is to write down something inspirational to remind you of this fact and look at it before opening any social media. You might write something affirming your own life and reminding you not to be jealous of the curated posts on your feed, you will likely feel better after scrolling through these types of posts. Someone might post something that makes it seem as though their life is luxurious when it may be their first vacation in years. That is why you should only think deeply about social media posts if you feel you have the full context around what is going on.
How to Find Mental Health Treatment Near Me
If you are ready to recover from the negative consequences of cell phones and mental health, Adolescent Wellness Academy can help. We specialize in providing mental health treatment for teens. You don’t have to go undiagnosed or let things like social media negatively impact your mental health. We can help you get the proper treatment for ADHD, anxiety disorders, depression, and trauma.