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The Link Between Social Media and Teen Depression

A Social Media-Dependent World

For better, or for worse, the widespread use of social media has changed the landscape of communication forever. The way we socialize, make and maintain friendships is different. Not only is is it a different world for adults, the way children communicate and use technology has changed.

There are a lot of benefits of living in a digital world – it’s easier to stay connected than ever before. However – our newly digital lives also come with risks.

Risk for Youth in the Digital World

Relying on social media for communication and socialization can cause children to miss out on developing critical social

girl in a grey shirt holding a cell phone with bracelets on her arm

skills. They may also be subject to cyberbullying, feeling left out and setting unrealistic expectations for their lives. All of which can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression.

It is import to monitor the amount of screen time your children are getting, as well as the different social media platforms they are on and any changes in behaviors they may exhibiting while using social media.

It’s not exactly a secret that teenagers often pass harsh judgments in real life – behind a screen they often feel even safer passing statements that would otherwise be difficult to verbalize face to face. Combined with the face pace of digital communications, these conversions can often be difficult to process for teenagers.

Symptoms of Adolescent Depression

  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Mood swings
  • Loss of interest in daily activities
  • Changes in self-care habits
  • Not sleeping, or sleeping too much
  • Agitation
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Headaches, stomachaches
  • Isolating
  • Suicidal thoughts or ideation


When depression occurs in adolescents these symptoms are likely to start affecting their school performance negatively, impact relationships with friends and family and more. Teenage depression can be hard to identify, as onset can be gradual. It might seem like typical age-appropriate complaints – “I’m tired” or “I have a headache”. But it is important to watch out for warning signs, if your typically very social teenage begins to appear isolated, sad or unreachable this could be a sign of depression.

Helping Teens Navigate Today’s Digital World

Understand that social media isn’t good or bad – it’s a fact of our modern lives and we have to learn how to incorporate it with moderation.

Model appropriate behaviors.

Teach your children how to handle difficult situations when they arise online so that they are able to make positive choices and keep themselves safe moving forward. Keep an open line of communication with your teenager so they know that you are there to turn to. The best thing you can do as a parent is be engaged with your teenager. Believe it or not – your teenage wants your help.

Understanding When It’s Time to Intervene

An ARISE® Internet and Technology Intervention for your teenager can help them get the help they need to take the necessary steps towards a healthy lifestyle and relationship to the internet and technology.

Our Certified ARISE® Interventionists will work with your family over a period of at least 6 to 12 months to ensure that both your loved and your family can learn more about the problem in a way that removes blame, shame and guilt and work on any underlying issues. Our goal is health and healing not just for your loved one but for the entire family.

If your loved one appears to be unable to leave the internet or their devices despite negative consequences, an ARISE® Internet & Technology Intervention can help. Call our hotline for a free consultation today: 1-877-229-5462 


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