Social Media: Negative and Positive Effects on Adolescents


This research proposal introduces research on the impact of social media use on adolescents. Social media use has become rampant in the last decade with the accompanying massive technological developments (Twenge et al., 2018). Various social media avenues have been developed and have made the world a global village. It has allowed people across the world to share their lives and communicate while continents apart. Social media has revolutionized various aspects of the world, such as business, education, international relations, and social interactions (Twenge et al., 2018). The original purposes of social media of uniting the entire world and making communication seamless have been achieved. The biggest users have been youths who are flexible to change, and social media has provided a comfortable space for them (Salomon & Brown, 2018). Adolescents spend a lot of time on social media and this has recently become a concern. This research seeks to establish the place and impact of social media on adolescents.

This research is based on the functionalist theory which views life as a complex interaction of various phenomena that perform diverse functions to achieve stability in life. This theory views these phenomena as organs of a body, life (Davies & Hobbs, 2020). Social media has become a crucial part of the body of life in influencing decision-making. Adolescents are the future of the world, and their use of social media should not interfere with their duty of becoming the drivers of the world in the future. This research seeks to establish whether social media has performed its function in their lives adequately (Davies & Hobbs, 2020). It also seeks to establish any shortfalls and strives to provide solutions to safeguard the lives of adolescents.

Literature Review

Many scholarly studies focus on the issue because social media is an integral phenomenon of the modern world. A peer-reviewed journal article by Keles et al. (2020) is among them. This resource aims at identifying a connection between social media and mental health problems among teenagers. For that purpose, the authors have conducted a systematic review of 13 studies to determine whether a correlation exists. The researchers have arrived at essential findings that reveal social media impact. In particular, Keles et al. (2020) identified a correlation between anxiety, depression, and psychological distress and social media active use. Evidence from various environments supports this claim, which means that an adverse impact should be admitted. I agree with the article because it is challenging to deny the negative effect of social media on individuals. I believe that excessive involvement in Internet activities makes adolescents unprepared for real life, which leads to psychological problems. However, it is reasonable to mention that additional scholarly studies should be analyzed to ensure that social media use is a leading source of mental problems.

Statement of the Problem

Social media use has recently become rampant. Some of the most popular social media platforms are Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp (Anderson & Jiang, 2018). These platforms enable virtual interaction and socialization amongst people. Excessive social media use has become an issue for adolescents who spend hours on their phones and other gadgets browsing, sharing aspects of their lives, communicating with other people, and following shared occurrences of the lives of the various people they engage with (Hogan & Strasburger, 2018). This excessive use of social media has made adolescents ‘slaves’ to their gadgets. The excessive use of social media has also made adolescents ignorant of some of their responsibilities (Weaver & Swank, 2019). Social medial use also aids with absenteeism from reality as these adolescents seem to lead abstract lives.

Excessive social media has also contributed to the loss of social skills such as holding a conversation. Inadequate experience for these youths by communicating physically has watered down these skills (Moreno & Uhls, 2019). Social media also makes adolescents adopt a sedentary life. These adolescents spend most of their time sitting and scrolling social media. There is minimal time for physically indulging activities such as exercising and games (Moreno & Uhls, 2019). In addition to physical health, the mental health of adolescents is also affected as they spend most of their time comparing their lives to those of their abstract friends (Keles, 2020). Social media has also benefited adolescents. These benefits include making them more informed due to ease of access online. Networking for adolescents has also been eased by social media (Griffiths, 2018). Despite the physical distance barrier, youths who use social media are capable of interacting with people in different continents. Social media also eliminates boredom by providing adolescents with many exciting features.

Social media use amongst adolescents is crucial for society as it determines the trajectory of life in the future. There is a need to identify positive and negative aspects of this phenomenon. Acquiring such information will be vital in making informed judgments on social media and its impact on adolescents. This population comprises a sensitive part of society, and the community owes them the responsibility of protecting them and ensuring that they do not consume any commodity in proportions that may harm them, including social media. Identifying the positive effects of social media on adolescents will enable the implementation of mechanisms that make its use better. Discovering the negative effects of social media will also ensure the invention of measures that lessen these effects. Society deserves adolescents who are ready to make the world a better place. Doing this involves making informed decisions on the position of social media in the lives of these adolescents.

The purpose of this research is to identify the negative and positive effects of social media on the lives of adolescents. The research also seeks to establish whether, on average, adolescents spend too much time on social media. If this is found to be true, this research aims to establish ways of minimizing it and diverting it to other productive activities. Anything done without moderation is bound to cause disastrous effects on the user. The proposed research aims to establish checks and balances on social media use amongst adolescents to ensure that the limited time they have in this age group is used in preparing them with the necessary knowledge and skills crucial for their future lives.

Research Questions

  • Question 1: Does social media negatively or positively impact adolescents?
  • Question 2: What are effective ways to minimize social media use time among teenagers?
  • Question 3: Is there scientific evidence to prevent adolescents from spending much time on social media?


In conclusion, social media has become an integral part of life this decade, and nothing is reversing that. The negative impacts of social media that arise cannot be solved by eliminating its use. These effects can be mitigated by learning how to live with it and inventing appropriate ways of ensuring that it does not take all the time available. Amongst adolescents, excessive social media is an emerging issue that needs urgent attention. Discovering its positive and negative impacts will inform judgment on methods of minimizing the use of social media. Potential benefits likely to be gained from regulated social media use include having youths that are conversant with social skills such as conversational skills. In addition to social skills, adolescents are likely to develop healthier due to their physical activities. The future generation will therefore be a reliable one.


Anderson, M., & Jiang, J. (2018). Teens, Social Media & Technology 2018. Pew Research Center. Web.

Davies, C., & Hobbs, M. (2020). Irresistible possibilities: Examining the uses and consequences of social media influencers for contemporary public relations. Public Relations Review, 46(5), 101983. Web.

Griffiths, M. D. (2018). Adolescent social networking: How do social media operators facilitate habitual use? Education and Health, 36(3), 66–69. Web.

Hogan, M., & Strasburger, V. C. (2018). Social Media and New Technology: A Primer. Clinical Pediatrics, 57(10), 1204–1215. Web.

Keles, B., McCrae, N., & Grealish, A. (2020). A systematic review: The influence of social media on depression, anxiety, and psychological distress in adolescents. International Journal of Adolescence and Youth, 25(1), 79-93. Web.

Moreno, M. A., & Uhls, Y. T. (2019). Applying an affordances approach and a developmental lens to approach adolescent social media use. Digital Health, 205520761982667. Web.

Salomon, I., & Brown, C. S. (2018). The Selfie Generation: Examining the Relationship Between Social Media Use and Early Adolescent Body Image. The Journal of Early Adolescence, 39(4), 539–560. Web.

Twenge, J. M., Martin, G. N., & Spitzberg, B. H. (2018). Trends in U.S. Adolescents’ media use, 1976–2016: The rise of digital media, the decline of TV, and the (near) demise of print. Psychology of Popular Media Culture, 8(4). Web.

Weaver, J. L., & Swank, J. M. (2019). Mindful Connections: A Mindfulness-Based Intervention for Adolescent Social Media Users. Journal of Child and Adolescent Counseling, 5(2), 103–112. Web.

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