by Jeff Nalin

Dr. Jeff Nalin is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist (PSY17766), a Certified Chemical Dependency Intervention Specialist and a Certified Youth Residential Treatment Administrator.

Dr. Nalin is the Founder and Clinical Director of Paradigm Malibu and Paradigm San Francisco Adolescent Treatment Centers. He has been a respected leader in the field of emotional health, behavioral health and teen drug treatment for more than 15 years. During that time, Dr. Nalin has been responsible for the direct care of young people at multiple institutions of learning including; The Los Angeles Unified School District, the University of California at San Diego, Santa Monica College, and Pacific University. He was instrumental in the development of the treatment component of Los Angeles County’s first Juvenile Drug Court, which now serves as a national model.

If you have a teenager who uses social media on a daily basis, it’s important you learn how social media can cause depression and other problems. It’s not uncommon for teens to have their smartphones on hand at all times, and being connected with their friends can seem like a positive experience at first. If you want to protect your teenager from harm, it’s time to look at some of the issues that using social media can cause, impacting lives in a powerful way. Teens won’t always seek help when things go wrong online, making them feel even more helpless.

The Pressure to Fit in With the Crowd

Teenagers have felt a need to fit in with their peer groups long before social media was even a thought, but technology magnifies the problem in a powerful way. Most people want to show off to the world when posting online, so they will only highlight their best moments. Going to social events, attending concerts and reaching milestones are some of the things that teenagers like to publish on their social media accounts. Even though everyone has problems, people don't like to post the negative events of their lives online. When teenagers scroll through their newsfeed, it's easy for them to think that all of their friends and classmates are perfect, making them feel left out. 

Decreased Social Skills

When it comes to the dangers of social media, it's critical you understand the impact that it can have on a teenager's social skills. Interacting with peers is about more than the words you use, and learning to read body language and understand vocal tonality is a critical part of the puzzle that you can't overlook. Because teenagers often rely on social media to stay in touch, they don't have many real interactions with others. This isolation can prevent them from learning the critical social skills that they will need in life. 

Cyberbullying

Social media allows teenagers to communicate with all of their friends at the touch of a button, and this ability takes bullying to a new level. Without much effort, teens can reveal each other's secrets or spread false information online, and the results can be devastating. In the worst cases of cyberbullying, a teenager's reputation can be destroyed in a matter of hours, and the social fallout can push him or her to commit suicide. 

The Solution

If you want to take steps to reduce the risk and still allow your teenager to enjoy the benefits of social media, you are likely wondering what options are available. Keeping an open line of communication with your teen is the most important thing that you can do. They need to know that they have someone in whom they can confide when their time on social media takes a turn for the worst. Also, it’s vital you limit the amount of time that teenagers spend online so that you can encourage them to develop social skills. Helping them understand that nobody is perfect and that their peers will always put their best foot forward will work wonders.

Learn more about Paradigm Adolescent Treatment Centers.  Paradigm Malibu and Paradigm San Francisco.