Are Phones and Social Media Affecting Mental Health in Adolescents Today?


Joanna Amaya and Taha Nasir use social media to connect with friends

Stella Johnson, Writer

According to “The New York Times,” anxiety rates in adolescents are increasing rapidly, and researchers are linking that anxiety to smartphones and social media.

According to “The Times,” social media has become a platform where young people feel a false responsibility to live up to unrealistic expectations online.

“With social media, you are now constantly on display,” said Mrs. Dixon, a parent as well as a teacher of Independent Research and Intern Mentor at Wilde Lake. “Everything you do, say, or make can be recorded with or without your knowledge online, and it’s become a culture of excruciating criticism. Teens aren’t nice to each other.” 

Mei Zheng, a senior, has recognized this growing addiction to our phones. “If I do not have my phone, I am constantly thinking, what if someone texts me or calls me? What if there’s an emergency? We depend on our phones for everything,” said Zheng.

Today, anxiety has become the top mental health concern in the United States, and it has largely surpassed depression as an issue for which young people, especially adolescents, seek out help, according to “The Times.” In addition, rates of attempted suicide in youth have doubled in the past decade.

As much as we love our phones and social media, the negative effects are becoming hard for students to ignore.

I think my phone causes me to feel stressed and anxious,” said sophomore Rachel Van Osdel, “because social media puts pressure on us to be something we’re not.”

According to “The Times,” many schools in the United States are creating special programs for students who face extreme anxiety that interferes with their school attendance and academic performance.

Junior Hanna Lin believes that “at the end of the day, it depends on how use your phone. It’s not the phone that creates the anxiety, but using it in an unhealthy way can contribute.”

According to Junior Joanna Amaya cell phones offer a positive benefit: they allow her to communicate with friends and family. However, She recognizes that teenagers are always on social media and that you have to “be liked by everyone.”

“I would tell people who are always on their phones,” said Amaya “that if something is stressing them out, that they should put their phone down. It’s not that important.”