Teenage Mental Health in Today’s Climate

Has social media plummeted thanks to social media? Here is my take on it.

Social media has been damaging enough to teenagers globally, but what happens when the world completely stops? When the world went into lockdown, this gave teenagers plenty of time with nothing to do, leading them to engage even more with social media. They have all the time in the world on their hands, but little did they know that just a few apps would damage so many people’s mental health.

When the world stopped, teenagers were bored with nothing to do. So that’s when everyone turned to TikTok. In this app, you can make 15 or 60-second videos with a song underneath or just talking. The app was already viral and gained popularity day by day. Still, once quarantine began, the app’s usage skyrocketed, especially amongst teenagers. Teens quickly started to spend hours upon hours on this app just scrolling through the ‘For You page,’ a series of videos tailored to a person’s interest based on what they had liked and who they follow. Time would pass by again and again, and teens would continuously be spending more time on TikTok. But there are so many adverse effects of not just TikTok but social media in general.

Spending a lot of time on social media is never good for anyone, but when someone has nothing to do, and that is all an individual is doing, it can be hazardous to one’s health. Several videos are trending on TikTok about breakdowns and how their mental health is not okay. Still, one good thing is that TikTok can also be used to open up about mental health. An article from Inquirer, describes this as “For both creators and viewers, TikTok has become a platform on which people can express such isolating feelings as loneliness, insecurities, and depression.” There is always good that will come with the bad.

For instance, imagine  that you post a video about a sensitive topic. It goes viral because, unlike other social media platforms, on TikTok you could go viral very quickly. One can get flooded with positive comments, but also get flooded with negative comments too. Rather than being a nice distraction from a global pandemic, your mental health plummets even more. This is dangerous to many teens because they already have other stressors. 

Now don’t get me wrong, TikTok is not the only social media platform that is not suitable for teenagers’ mental health; I could say the same things about Instagram and VSCO. Both are platforms where people regularly post photos of distorted realities to make it seem like users of these platforms have perfect lifestyles. This makes others feel insecure about what they have and what they look like. However, I am not arguing that all teenagers should delete the app. Overall, the positive of staying connected with others outweighs the bad; it brings joy to many people. Still, there should be even more personalization. There should be a way for people to filter content or create a custom setting to help give a more personal experience and possibly eliminate the negative experiences for many.

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