The technological revolution, including social media, is everywhere – it’s the rare family indeed that can completely eliminate smart phones, tablets, computers or electronic devices. From toddlers to preschoolers to pre-teens and adolescents, our children are immersed in technology almost from the day that they are born. Studies have been done on the effects of social media and various age groups, including teens. But how does social media affect your teen’s self-esteem? Does it play a role in the lives of troubled teen boys? This infographic provides additional visual data on social media and teens.
The Missing Element
Teens seem to be online whenever they aren’t in school, and sometimes even when they are. Texts, posts, shared information, trolls and the like are almost as essential to many teens as eating. New methods of communication and interaction have replaced phone calls and spending time at the mall. Now, instead of hearing a friend’s voice or connecting with them in person, they can spend their social time online. They lose that valuable skill of picking up on non-verbal cues, which makes up an estimated 93 percent of communication, including tone of voice, facial expressions and body language.
Complications From Too Much Screen Time
The problem of too much screen time does not occur in a vacuum. For example, children today are only outside an average of 30 minutes each week, apart from structured activities. In addition, the time spent staring at a screen could be affecting a child’s eyesight, and one study confirmed that kids who are outside more are less likely to be nearsighted. Another study connected increased obesity and attention deficit disorder with excessive computer time.
Social Media and Technology Addictions
Even worse, screen time can develop into a full blown addiction. The data shows that teens send about 60 texts each day. However, about one-fifth of these text twice as much with kids easily spending more than three hours each day on line. One 2011 study from The Nation’s Health shows that excessive texting and networking result in numerous health problems for young people, including teen boys. These problems range from absences at school to substance abuse and more.
Connections Between Social Media and Self-Esteem
These are just some of the ways that social media affects a child’s self-esteem, including teen boys.
- Unrealistic ideas that life consists of wonderful social media posts. Most people, teens included, post about the positives in their lives and not the struggles. This gives teens the impression that everyone else has it easy. Teens don’t see the struggles behind the scenes.
- Difficulty in developing real-life connections. Sometimes it’s easier to remain uninvolved in an anonymous forum as opposed to relating to someone in person, as messy as the later can be.
- Dealing with trolls emboldened by the anonymity of the Internet. Let’s face it – there are mean people who like nothing more than to bully others behind a screen. The meanness can be devastating to sensitive teens.
- Limiting exercise. Exercise helps boost morale and self-esteem. Every day has just 24 hours, so a minute spent indoors can’t be spent outside in healthier activities.
- Enjoyment of life apart from screen time. Teens need to learn to enjoy a wide range of activities without worrying about social media. When they return to the screen, they will have more to share, and the opinions of anonymous users might not matter so much.