The Impact of Technology and Digital Media On Teenagers Mental Well-being

Understanding The Role of Digital Media and Technology on Teen’s Lives
Recently, technology has become an integral part of teenagers’ lives, playing a role in their learning experiences, developing relationships with their peers, and forming their identities. The evolution of social media platforms, as well as technology in general, has forged new ways to connect with people as well as expressing themself but in spite of the several positive developments, there are challenges that come along with it. The exposure to influencers/celebrities who spend large amounts of time curating a persona that has what is thought to be the perfect life can cause unrealistic expectations in teenagers often leading to an increased feeling of self-doubt or insecurities. They can feel the need to comply with these unrealistic prospects. Though technology can be used to benefit oneself through aspects such as entertainment, learning opportunities, and building relationships, it has its own drawbacks in terms of its impacts on mental well-being. It is crucial to understand how to guide your teenager to a balanced relationship with social media and technology.

Encouraging Healthy Online Habits
As outlined above, encouraging your teenager to develop a balanced relationship with technology is essential. A few ways to encourage a healthy relationship with digital media include

  • Recommend your child to allocate time for both ‘real-life’ and online activities in order to have a balance between the two.
  • Modeling the behaviors that you are implementing, makes it so they can understand the significance of taking breaks from screens.
  • Developing routines that do not necessarily limit their screen time, but give them an ample amount of time to do other activities.
  • It is essential to educate your teenager on how to exhibit proper online behavior as well as the potential consequences they can experience based on their actions

These are just a few of the several ways to implement healthy online habits.

Understanding and Navigating Through the Pressures From Social Media
One of the most common pressures that teenagers face is the numerous posts that have been made to look as if they are flawless. Constantly seeing celebrities’ seemingly perfect life can often cause people, especially teenagers to feel as if they or the events in their life are not enough in comparison to the celebrities. This is often referred to as the “highlight reel effect” in which someone only shows the ‘best parts of their life while the rest is kept to themself, often leading other people to compare their own life to the person who is only showing select parts of their own. It is crucial to discuss the different things that are shown on social media with your teenager and let them understand what they see is often a critically selected version of reality; discussing the potential effects of social media on their mental well-being can be extremely beneficial as well. Discussing these factors with your teenager can allow them to use social media with a healthier outlook on both other people and themself.

The Benefits of Digital Detoxs’
A digital detox is when an individual abstains from using any electronics for a certain period of time. It is especially crucial for teens due to the fact that their brains are still developing. Some signs that indicate that your teenager may need to begin taking more breaks from their electronics are a lack of focus, poor sleep, difficulty in remembering,  increased fatigue, decreased productivity, and more. As seen, reducing screen time is necessary for both the physical and mental well-being of anyone; as a parent/guardian,t is important to establish the potential consequences of having a high screen time. Oftentimes, to just start off you can encourage them to do a “mini detox” in which they take breaks for 25-40 minutes then gradually build up from there since being in the routine of constantly using their phone can be difficult to break. A few of the benefits of doing digital detoxes include

  • Reducing stress- the consistent use of technology has been seen to cause large amounts of stress and anxiety therefore, making sure to take breaks can alleviate those feelings.
  • Increasing productivity.
  • Improved sleep quality.
  • Freeing up time.
  • The reduction of anxiety.
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