Social Media Use among Adolescents: Benefits and Risks
Dana Reid and Paul Weigle
Affiliation: 1004 Bombay Lane, Roswell, Georgia, 30076 USA.
Background: Although use of social media is an important part of adolescents’ lives, the mental health impact
of this activity is largely unknown to practitioners.
Methods: An extensive literature search was conducted regarding social media use among adolescents and the benefits
and potential risks associated with that use. A PUBMED search was conducted using various terms including “social media
and teens”, “social media and suicide”, “facebook and suicide”, “sexting”, “cyberbullying”, “facebook and teens”,
“social media and self-injury”. Relevant articles were examined and used in this review. Also, reports on adolescent social
media use from the Pew Internet and American Life Project were examined.
Results: This newer form of communication has many benefits to adolescents and plays an important role in their social
lives. Despite the numerous benefits of these technologies, there are also several potential risks that can be detrimental to
the mental health and well-being of adolescents.
Conclusions: It is critical that child psychiatrists and other mental health providers be informed of these potential risks so
they can more effectively educate and treat their adolescent patients and their families.
Keywords: Adolescents, cyberbullying, internet, pro-eating disorder websites, self-injury, sexting, social media, suicide.
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