Research the range of contemporary issues teenagers face today. In a   500-750-word paper, choose one issue (besides teen pregnancy) and   discuss its effect on adolescent behavior and overall well-being.   Include the following in your submission: Prepare this assignment according to the guidelines found in the APA   Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center. An abstract is not required. This assignment uses a rubric. Please review the   rubric prior to beginning the assignment to become familiar with the   expectations for successful completion.

Contemporary Issues: The Influence of Social Media on Adolescent Well-being

Introduction:
In today’s technologically driven world, social media has become an integral part of adolescents’ lives. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat provide avenues for communication, self-expression, and information sharing. However, the growing use of social media among teenagers has sparked concerns about its impact on adolescent behavior and overall well-being. This paper aims to explore the influence of social media on adolescent behavior, focusing on its effect on self-esteem, body image, and mental health.

Effect on Self-esteem:
Adolescence is a critical period for the development of self-esteem, which refers to the overall evaluation of one’s worth and capabilities. Social media platforms have both positive and negative influences on self-esteem. On one hand, social media provides opportunities for teenagers to receive positive feedback and validation from peers through likes, comments, and shares, which can boost their self-esteem. However, the constant exposure to carefully curated posts and images of others can induce social comparison, leading to feelings of inadequacy and lower self-worth. Teenagers often compare their appearance, accomplishments, and popularity with those displayed on social media, which can lead to a distorted perception of reality and a decrease in self-esteem.

Effect on Body Image:
Social media plays a significant role in shaping teenagers’ body image perceptions. The portrayal of unrealistic beauty standards through edited and filtered images can create pressure on adolescents to conform to narrow definitions of attractiveness. Research has shown that exposure to idealized body images on social media is associated with an increase in body dissatisfaction, which can lead to unhealthy dieting behaviors, eating disorders, and a negative impact on overall well-being. Moreover, the constant exposure to images of edited and flawless bodies may lead to body dysmorphia, a psychological disorder characterized by persistent preoccupation with perceived flaws in one’s appearance.

Effect on Mental Health:
The impact of social media on adolescent mental health is a subject of increasing concern. Studies have shown that excessive social media use is associated with high levels of anxiety, depression, and loneliness among teenagers. The constant comparison with others’ seemingly perfect lives can create feelings of inadequacy and FOMO (fear of missing out), contributing to increased stress and decreased well-being. Additionally, cyberbullying, a form of online harassment, is prevalent on social media platforms and can have severe psychological consequences for victims. The anonymity provided by social media can embolden individuals to engage in bullying behaviors, leading to lasting effects on the mental health of those targeted.

Conclusion:
Social media has undoubtedly become a powerful force in shaping the lives of teenagers. While it offers avenues for self-expression and connection, its influence on adolescent behavior and overall well-being cannot be overlooked. The impact of social media on self-esteem, body image, and mental health deserves careful attention and proactive measures to mitigate its negative effects. Parents, educators, and society as a whole need to be aware of the challenges social media presents and provide support and guidance to adolescents in navigating these platforms responsibly. Empowering teenagers with critical thinking skills, digital literacy, and healthy self-esteem can enable them to use social media as a positive tool for growth and well-being instead of falling victim to its potential pitfalls.

References:
– Fardouly, J., Diedrichs, P. C., Vartanian, L. R., & Halliwell, E. (2015). Social comparisons on social media: The impact of Facebook on young women’s body image concerns and mood. Body image, 13, 38-45.
– Jelenchick, L. A., Eickhoff, J. C., & Moreno, M. A. (2013). “Facebook depression?” Social networking site use and depression in older adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Health, 52(1), 128-130.
– Perloff, R. M. (2014). Social media effects on young women’s body image concerns: Theoretical perspectives and an agenda for research. Sex Roles, 71(11-12), 363-377.
– Vannucci, A., Flannery, K. M., & Ohannessian, C. M. (2017). Social media use and anxiety in emerging adults. Journal of Affective Disorders, 207, 163-166.