Social Media Influence on Teenagers

Social Media Influence on Teenagers
Written By: Counselling Psychologist
M.Sc. Psychology - Swansea University, UK.
Reviewed By: Counselling Psychologist
MA Psychology Pennsylvania State University, USA
Last Updated: 21-06-2023

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Teenagers are one of the most avid users of social media. It allows them to communicate and receive information in many ways. Social media outlets used by youth include computers, text messages, Facebook, YouTube, movies, television programs, video games, etc. The use of internet services comes front and center when considering the influence of social media.

The total number of internet users in India is estimated to be around 81 million, out of which 72 % are from the young population. According to recent reports, teens in India prefer to use personal computers and laptops instead of smartphones for browsing. This study also suggested that approximately 26 percent of participants claimed remaining online for at least an hour each day and 27 percent agreed that they check and respond to notifications received from social media avenues within 5 minutes of receiving them. Facebook and Google+ were found to be the most used platforms by teenagers, while WhatsApp was the most popular instant messaging outlet.

From a global viewpoint, it is also estimated that 22% of teenagers log onto preferred social media sites more than 10 times a day.  Similar results were also mentioned in an American report indicating that a whopping 92% of teenagers claim to go online each day. According to a study, TikTok users spend 55.8 minutes daily using the app

Benefits associated with Social Media Use:

  • Effective mode of communication: One of the primary features of social media is the possibility of communicating with peers, friends, etc. Social media is often applied to maintaining and forming social connections. The deeper benefits of social media include community-level interactions (political events, charity events, etc.), the impetus to creativity (creating blogs, vlogs, podcasts, etc.), and fostering new social skills.
  • Learning opportunities: Facebook and similar platforms allow students to collaborate on assignments and projects. In addition, the use of platforms such as podcasts and YouTube is also beneficial for vicarious learning. Students can find wide-ranging global information in a short span of time.

Risks related to Social media use:


  • Privacy issues: The level and nature of the information that is put up on social media are of concern when it comes to its dissemination. A lack of awareness of privacy issues can often lead to posting and sharing private material.
  • Cyberbullying: Cyberbullying involves disseminating hostile or inappropriate information about someone without their consent. Instances of cyberbullying can lead to harmful psychological consequences like anxiety, social isolation, suicide attempts, and even suicide6. Reports suggest that about 50% of youth in India have experienced or witnessed cyberbullying.
  • Exposure to sexual content: Social media often becomes a means of sharing and receiving sexual content. Sexting is a term applied to circulating sexually explicit material using cell phones, computers, etc. Young users are often lured by sexual predators using online platforms.

Adult supervision and involvement:

  • Family members, teachers, and other adult members in a teenager’s life are often faced with the important and challenging task of regulating teenage exposure to media. However, some guidelines can help make this easier to manage and supervise:
  • Communicate freely with young children and teenagers about their online activities. Try and mention the risks involved in fundamental terms so as to make a young one aware and alert to such instances. For example, explain to them the risks associated with communicating with strangers online, or posting private information about themselves and their families.
  • Parents and teachers can try to be more aware of technological advancements themselves. This helps them to supervise the online activities of teenagers in a better way
  • Try and limit the use of social media by stipulating time periods and the number of gadgets available for use. For example, teenage children can be given a time limit for using certain websites or portals. Any change in time and content can be supervised.
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