THE BLOG

Are Social Networks Causing Loneliness Among Teens?

10/07/2016 09:33pm ET | Updated October 8, 2017
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In the world of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and many other social media networks, we have learned to connect with people from all walks of life. While it might seem like social networking is bringing people together, it is now less clear. Interacting on social media was first seen as a good thing for teens. As more time passes though, questions are now being raised on the true impact of social networks on teens and their health.

There is some surprising research out there and it shows social networks might indeed be causing loneliness and even depression in teenagers. Herbal remedies and supplements are now becoming very popular among parents to give to their teens. The herbal remedies are starting to become more favored over the prescription medications that typically have been used to treat depression. These remedies are helping the teens handle their depression and anxiety without the severe side effects that are commonly associated with prescription medications.

Continue reading to learn more about how social media is just adding to the depression of teens today.

Real Social Skills Are Diminishing

One of the biggest reasons why social networks are causing loneliness in teens is because real social skills are going out the window. Teens today are not equipped with learning how to make new friends due to the digital age of social networks.

There is also the issue of maintaining the friendships, which often times is just done through social networks as opposed to hanging out. The lack of real personal interaction with these friends is leading to feelings of isolation.

Being Ignored is Now Amplified

Another part of social networks is the ability to reply to messages, texts, and other forms of online communication with a blink of an eye. This ability to instantly communicate and talk back is leading to teens knowing pretty quickly when they are being ignored, especially since Messenger allows you to see if your message has been read or not. The teens feel insulted, lonely, depressed, and even anxious when they realize they are being given essentially the "silent treatment" by a so-called friend online.

Study Finds Mental Health Connection

While we are still trying to figure out the whole impact of social networks on teens, a study has come out showing some alarming information. The University of Houston released results of a study it did, which showed how long and how often people spent on social media affected their mental health. This was a study on Facebook and it showed that people compare themselves with others. This social comparison creates feelings of envy, loneliness, and depression. The feelings of loneliness often come from people posting only happy and positive things in life, such as parties and hanging out with friends or going on vacation.

Social Media Brings Negative Thoughts

While not all of social media has a negative vibe, there are many websites devoted to feelings of depression, loneliness, and isolation. Tumblr for example, is a place where teens can go to reinforce negative thoughts and feelings. These social media platforms tend to push teens into only interacting with like-minded people. The interactions of only like-minded people can significantly impact feeling lonely and isolated because teens are not engaging with different viewpoints or different thoughts or feelings. Teens that are not looking to enhance their world view will find themselves feeling isolated like no one hears them or can help them with their problems.

Insecurities Come to Surface

We touched on this a little bit already, but social networks cause teens to become lonelier often times due to insecurities they have coming to the surface regularly. On social media, we see people having fun and who are happy both personally and academically. The fact that people post pictures of what seems to be a perfect life enhances loneliness of teens. Teens feel they are not as perfect as someone else online or that their family is not as cool as that of a friend. Instead of feeling like teens can connect with one another online through social networks, they feel like they cannot measure up to the positive and happy life someone else portrays online.

Conclusion

While social networks can be a positive way to interact with friends and family, it can also cause loneliness and depression in teens. Teens often times feel they are inadequate just through normal real-life interactions, and social networks amplify those feelings and thoughts. This does not mean social networks are horrible or should not be used by teens, however. The main thing to keep in mind is that teens are just more likely to compare themselves to others, and this is where a lot of the loneliness comes from. More studies are needed to find the long-term impact of teens and social networks, but the correlation between loneliness and social networks is definitely being felt.