Alivia Insixiengmay and Michelle Rodriguez– Mustangs Ahead

(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL) – Social media has become a phenomenon among teenagers across the world. Popular media that teens use most are TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat.  

Mustangs are reflecting on how the mental health of high schoolers has been affected by social media.

Social media, though an outlet for interaction, can be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Social media disrupts mental growth by discouraging the need for the youth to get out of the house and socialize.

LRHS Junior Ronald Clemow said, “Having access to social media at a young age can create unhealthy habits.”

As a teen, one key to avoiding the worst effects of social media is develop positive social interactions.

According to chief science officer at the American Psychological Association (APA) Mitch Prinstein, “Numerous studies have revealed that children’s interactions with peers have enduring effects on their occupational status, salary, relationship success, emotional development, mental health, and even on physical health and mortality over 40 years later.”

Adolescence can also become witness to violent media. Kids as young as four-years-old can have access to gore.

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This can lead to “desensitization.”

According to the Evergreen Psychology Center, desensitization is “the child is slowly exposed to the subject of their fear and gradually becomes desensitized to the worry.”

LRHS sophomore Stephanie Green said, “Kids can recreate violent and inappropriate behaviors they see on social media.”

Additionally, self-image has been damaged by new social media. TikTok serves as one of the biggest causes.

Sophomore Maggie Sulgaski said, “TikTok makes it seem like girls need to eat one almond a day to keep the “’perfect body.’”

Though social media has positive aspects, it seems that mental health is not one of them.