Social Media and Anxiety

An excerpt from Social Media’s Impact on Students’ Mental Health Comes Into Focus by Kira Barrett

According to a recent report from the Pew Research Center, 95% of teens use a smartphone, and 45% say they are online almost constantly. About 70% of teens are on Snapchat and Instagram, while 85% are on Youtube.


One would think all this near constant “socializing” would make teens feel more connected than ever before.


In her classroom, says teacher Cori McAbee, the opposite is true.

"Social media has crippled my students when it comes to interacting with one another in person. Their very ability to communicate is deteriorating"

- Cori McAbee -
11th Grade English Teacher
Rutherford County, North Carolina

The very definition of “social” media may be misleading, according to experts who are finding that the more time teens spend on social media, the lonelier and more anxious they are.

There’s a correlation between smartphone usage and lower satisfaction with life, according to Jacob Barkley, professor of health sciences at Kent State University.

“Interaction on social media is not beneficial. It’s electronic,” explains Barkley, who has been studying smartphone use and students since 2013. “The higher the cellphone use, the more time spent on social media, and the higher the anxiety. Peer relationships actually get worse the more you use your phone.”

Jean Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State University, reached similar conclusions in 2017. In her study, Twenge discovered that students who spend more time using smartphones and other electronic devices are less satisfied with their lives than students who frequently engage in face-to-face interaction.

"We found that teens who spent five or more hours a day online were 71% more likely than those who spent less than an hour a day to have at least one suicide risk factor”

- Jean Twenge -
psychology professor

​San Diego State University

​Overall, suicide risk factors rose significantly after two or more hours a day of time online,” Twenge wrote in 2017.


If teens were to follow up high social media usage with lots of time spent socializing in person, the effects perhaps wouldn’t be so adverse. But in most cases, they aren’t. It turns out, liking a post, commenting “Cute,” or keeping up with a “snapchat streak” isn’t the same as catching up. It’s not even close. Yet too many teens, according to these experts, are substituting real life interactions for instagram posts, and paying the price.


Because research into social media and education is still generally in its infancy, many educators are still trying to fully understand the effects of these technologies. Social media can be an effective teaching tool, but many educators are alarmed at the role it plays in heightening student anxiety and stress.

Full Article:


Social Media’s Impact on Students’ Mental Health Comes Into Focus


 BY KIRA BARRETT


Barrett, Kira. "Social Media's Impact on Students' Mental Health Comes Into Focus." NEA Today. 03 Oct. 2018. 15 Oct. 2019 <http://neatoday.org/2018/09/27/social-media-impact-on-students-mental-health/>.

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Rachel Wixey & Associates

[Emily]

I chose this article because technology is such an important part of our daily lives, and the lives of our youth. It is crucial to understand the correlations this has with our mental health and how much everything differs from when we were in school.

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