Excessive use of social media adversely impacting teenagers: Doctors

at 8:50 pm
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New Delhi: Teenagers are spending excessive time on social media, which is adversely impacting their mental health and causing problems like depression and behavioral issues, doctors have warned.

Mental health and psychological issues being witnessed in children today are anxiety, loneliness, ADHD, eating disorders, parent-child bonding issues, identity crisis, peer pressure, relationship issues be it parent-child or amongst friends, sexual concerns, and abuse/violence, the doctors have noticed.

Furthermore, the overuse of social media can lead to an identity crisis as there is a major tussle between virtual relationships and real relationships today.

Additionally, sedentary lifestyle has given rise to various addictions, be it a gaming, social media, pornography or gambling addiction.

As teenagers spend majority of their time on social media, it results in them becoming more introverted and they begin to face difficulties in making friends and talking to people,” says Dr Rachna Khanna Singh, Consultant – Mental Health and Behavioural Science at Artemis Hospital, Gurugram.

“Teenagers are being guided by a virtual, fake world where there is immense competition, comparative issues, financial hardships, and fleeting, multiple relationships,” she added.

Dr Rachna noted that children today are more concerned about their followers on social media rather than developing friendships in flesh and blood.

“This could negatively affect teenagers by distracting them, disrupting their sleep, and could expose them to bullying, rumour spreading, unrealistic views of other people’s lives and immense peer pressure,” she said.

“Behavioral changes like not spending enough time with friends and family, being aloof and low, spending more time on the phone and in the room, having a drastic change in academic results and seeing changes in mood and behaviour are concerning and should be looked into urgently,” the doctor says.

Dr Rachna said that various studies from across the world clearly indicate a deep link between high levels of social media use and depression or anxiety symptoms.

“Multiple studies show that people who use social media excessively, do so because they are either bored, need an escape from their immediate physical environment, are feeling overwhelmed and stressed, are lonely, have few real-time friends or need to feel appreciated and validated,” she said.

“The use of social media by teenagers may sometimes turn into seeking validation for personal moments leaving adolescents develop mental health issues.

“It can also force different behavioral outcomes from teenagers as they might feel that parents are less present in the moment with them. Therefore, engaging in social media too much takes a toll on teenagers’ mental health as they themselves start to look for appreciation and validation from strangers,” the doctor says.

As more children and teenagers are drawn towards cell phones and technology, it is in their best interest that parents take substantial interest in physical activities, she says.

Instead of just stopping children usage of technology, parents need to understand that they need to set examples by their own actions, the doctor adds.