Effects of Social Media on Children & Teens

As prevalent as social media is today, studies show it’s responsible for exacerbating mental health problems and directly affecting children and teens. Here are the most common negative effects of social media use:

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Written and edited by our team of expert legal content writers and reviewed and approved by Attorney Matthew Bergman

Written and edited by our team of expert legal content writers and reviewed and approved by

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Developing a Social Media Addiction

Social media addiction is a growing problem among teens and children, fueled by the intentionally addictive design of social networking platforms. Studies show that many teens struggle with social media addiction, finding it hard to disconnect despite negative consequences. Key signs of this addiction include excessive use, neglect of real-life relationships, and poor academic performance. Interventions like digital detoxes, therapy, and engaging in healthier activities can help.

Social Media Addiction Lawsuits​

Exposure to Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying, which is widespread on social media platforms, can have serious psychological, physical, mental, and emotional effects on victims. These effects include anxiety, depression, isolation, and even suicidal thoughts. Teenagers are particularly vulnerable, with many reporting experiences of cyberbullying that can exacerbate other mental health issues. Witnesses to cyberbullying can also experience anxiety and depression.

Suicide/Suicidal Ideation

There have been a number of studies examining the relationship between social media and suicide, especially among young adults and teenagers in the United States. One controversial study noted how physicians in emergency departments could quickly assess a patient’s mental health status by viewing their social media accounts. Although this study isn’t practical due to privacy concerns and ethics, it highlights an important point – someone in mental distress would exhibit signs on their social media accounts.

A publication within the Current Opinion on Psychiatry noted that

Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in 10 to 24-year-olds worldwide.

and that an independent association exists between the problematic use of the Internet and social media and suicide attempts in young adults.

The University of Utah highlighted the problem with teenage suicides and acknowledged that parents are the first line of defense. Parents of teenagers should take note if their child is acting differently and look for problematic behaviors that could be an indication of suicide risk.

Body Image Issues

According to a 2017 study, the use of social media platforms led to body image issues and in young women. Further, the social comparison that social media promotes is tied to body dissatisfaction arising from comparisons to models and actresses who are standard in today’s media.

Fortunately, there are steps that may be taken to filter out the negative aspects of a social media feed and make the user happier as a result.

Eating Disorders

In teen girls, dissatisfaction with their bodies can lead to harmful conditions such as eating disorders like bulimia nervosa or anorexia nervosa.

Social Media Addiction Lawsuits​


Studies have shown that social media is correlated to increased feelings of depression among its users. This trend is especially visible in adolescents, highlighted by another study that connects increased screen time among teenagers with a higher risk of depression and suicide.

Social isolation, social comparison, and social peer pressure all contribute to increased depression on social media platforms, especially in young adults.


Social media has been shown to be linked to increased feelings of anxiety upon excessive use. Teenagers faced the brunt of this effect by being one of the most likely age groups to suffer from anxiety caused by browsing and lingering on social media platforms. Being a teenager has its challenges, but these challenges are further exacerbated by stressors that arise from social media.

When an individual opens up social media and sees they weren’t invited to an event, feels pressure to only post the most attractive version of themselves, and relies on getting likes and comments on their posts, a sense of anxiety can build quickly.

Low Self-Esteem

A publication in the European Scientific Journal found that approximately 88% of people engage in making some type of social comparison on Facebook, showing a direct link between social media use and lower self-esteem.

The Oxford Academic Journal of Communication published a study noting that a percentage of adolescents experienced negative effects on self-esteem due to social media use, even though they only observed the teenagers in the study for a short three-week period. The study concluded that person-specific effects from the use of social media couldn’t be ignored in future research and theories.

Teen Social Media Addiction Lawsuits

Social media platforms are being named in nationwide addiction lawsuits.

Why are Children & Teens Most Negatively Affected by Social Media?

Teenagers are particularly vulnerable to the negative effects of social media as they are still in their developmental years.

On average, children begin to explore social media from the ages of 10 to 12, rapidly discovering how communication online can help them make friends, connect with family, assist with homework, share music, and engage in entertainment and games.

Make this statistics pop out: By the age of 17, approximately 75% of teens already have at least one active social media account, and over two-thirds of teenagers have a mobile device they personally own that has access to the Internet.

According to the University of Nevada School of Medicine, teenagers aren’t sporadic in their use of social media either, with 50% of teens aged 13 to 17 visiting online platforms multiple times a day.

Teenage girls spend over 140 minutes per day online, and teens, on average, can reach a staggering 70 minutes of online time daily.

Active Lawsuits Against Social Media Platforms

There are multiple lawsuits currently in process to hold social media companies accountable for the harmful effects of their platforms on children and teens:

  • Social Media Addiction Lawsuits
  • Facebook & Instagram Mental Health Lawsuits
  • Snapchat Lawsuits
  • TikTok Lawsuits
  • Discord Lawsuits

Understand Your Legal Options to Hold Social Media Accountable

When your child or teen has experienced issues related to social media platforms under Meta’s control, it’s time to talk to a lawyer. Attorney Matt Bergman and the Social Media Victims Law Center have years of experience handling these cases to help families move forward.

Our team applies principles of product liability and tort law to force social media companies to stop putting profits over consumer safety and design safer platforms that protect users from foreseeable harm.

If your child has experienced mental or physical harm from using one of Meta’s products, contact the Social Media Victims Law Center today for a free case evaluation: (206) 741-4862.

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