Teenagers and the pressure of social media

We surveyed, 2,500 teenagers (13 – 19 years-old) around Ireland about mental health, and their thoughts for our ‘What’s Wrecking Your Head?‘ report. 

Social media was mentioned by many of the respondents as a source of tension between them and their parents.

External pressure

The teenagers who took part also spoke of the pressure they felt by their own social media use. This maybe something you’re all too aware of, as a parent.

During the teenage years, there can be an overwhelming need to fit in for a lot of young people. This means to look a certain way and engage in certain activities and behaviours.

To be seen

With the addition of social media in young people’s lives, there is immense sense of pressure to be seen, looking and behaving a certain way.

We’ve spoken to young people about the pressure they feel from social media, and while some of them are exhausted by it they find it nearly impossible to step away from.

Feeling inadequate

It would seem that a lot of the pressure is internalised from the messages they’re getting, making young people feel inadequate.

Pressure to look a certain way, be a certain way, to be doing the right things and putting your best ‘self’ forward, whatever that may be, they tell us.

Watch your own use

Being so connected is new to all of us, and we are all learning to manage our relationship with it. Whether you’re a very active social media user yourself or not, you can have bad habit about reading articles and emails on your phone, maybe more than you should.

Setting boundaries for social media

Obviously at ReachOut.com we’re advocates of technology, using online tools to let young people build their own resilience, connect with others, developing coping mechanisms and access support in way they’re comfortable with.

But, even we know breaks are needed.

The most important message to young people and parents about social media and phones is set some boundaries about screen time and stick to them. Take breaks and always remember you are allowed to take control of the things that make you feel bad.

Leave a comment

Your email will not be published and you can comment as a guest without having to login.

All comments are reviewed before they go live. Read our commenting and moderation policy