3 reasons why your teen should spend less time on social media

by Isabel Tennant


Social media seems to be an unstoppable force these days. Children and teenagers of all ages often have access to a wide range of online content. While there are many good aspects to this relatively new phenomenon, it’s important for a parent or caregiver to be aware of the potential risks.

Children’s brains undergo critical changes during their adolescent years, and their experiences during this time play a major role in shaping them as they become adults. With the impacts of social media just beginning to be understood, here are three reasons why you shouldn’t feel bad about limiting your teenager’s social media usage.




3 reasons why your teen should spend less time on social media

3 reasons why your teen should spend less time on social media


It’s tough to find an unfiltered and genuine image online. Photos posted on social media are often edited to enhance beauty, presenting a distorted reality to teenagers. For them, this presents a challenging juxtaposition between how they truly look and how they think they should look.

Obsessing over perceived flaws and seeking validation through likes and followers can negatively impact their self-esteem. This often leads to mental health issues such as anxiety, body dysmorphia, and eating disorders in teenagers. Research suggests that teens don’t have to cut out social media use entirely to start feeling more positive about themselves. In fact, one study found that reducing consumption by just 50% brought about major improvements in the teenage participants’ self-esteem.

Other healthy ways to boost your teen’s self-esteem include encouraging them to spend time working on their hobbies and meeting up with their friends away from screens. It’s a good idea to give your teenager plenty of positive reminders about their personal achievements and attributes to help them focus on what makes them special as a person.


Access to age-inappropriate content


3 reasons why your teen should spend less time on social media

3 reasons why your teen should spend less time on social media


Online content is difficult to monitor, and teenagers can easily stumble upon inappropriate videos and websites. Content creators have even been known to hide explicit and disturbing content amidst seemingly innocent videos. Because of this, it’s important for parents to know how to keep their children safe online.

One way to limit the risks of your child seeing things that may distress or confuse them is to set parental controls. Yes, your teenager wants the freedom to use social media as their friends are doing, but balancing their desire for freedom with a safe online environment is crucial.

It’s important to keep communication with your teenager open and ensure they feel reassured that they can come to you if they have any concerns about anything they’ve seen or anyone they’ve spoken to via social media.


Trouble sleeping

3 reasons why your teen should spend less time on social media

3 reasons why your teen should spend less time on social media


Finally, spending too much time on social media, and on screens in general, can disrupt your teenager’s sleep. 

Excessive screen time, especially on social media, can disrupt teenagers’ sleep patterns due to the blue light emitted from screens. This light suppresses the production of melatonin, the natural sleep hormone. This is because our brains naturally adopt a sleep-and-wake schedule based on the rise and fall of the sun. When we continue absorbing bright light after sundown, it’s harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. This can often lead to insomnia and sleep deprivation.

Teenagers are known for staying up late and struggling to wake up in the morning. As their biological body clock changes due to puberty, it’s vital that your teen continues to get enough sleep. To ensure your teen gets enough rest, establish a bedtime routine that involves turning off screens at least one hour before bedtime. Encourage alternative activities like journaling, mindfulness practices, or relaxing in dim lighting to promote sound sleep.


Isabel Tennant

As a tech addict herself, Isabel knows all too well how screen time can impact our lives. By sharing her experiences both as a mother and as a psychologist, she hopes to help other parents navigate the often turbulent teenage years of their children’s lives.

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