- A recent study revealed how social media makes teens materialistic.
- Increased materialism is also linked to low self-esteem and poor mindfulness in adolescents.
Adolescent Mental Health
Adolescent mental health refers to the emotional, psychological, and social well-being of young people between the ages of 10 and 19. It is a critical period of development, characterized by rapid physical, cognitive, and social changes, which can lead to various mental health issues, such as:
- Eating disorders
- Body image issues
- Substance abuse
- Internet addiction
- Self-harm and suicidal ideation
Impact Of Social Media Addiction In Adolescence
Social media addiction can have a significant impact on the mental health and well-being of adolescents. Spending excessive amounts of time on social media can lead to negative effects such as:
- Increased feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and depression
- Eating and sleep disorders
- Decreased self-esteem
- Reduced productivity and academic performance
- Decreased face-to-face social interactions and poor social skills
- Risky online behaviors such as cyberbullying, negative self-disclosure, dangerously engaging with strangers, etc.
- Enhanced materialism
- Reduced mindfulness and psychological resilience
Does Social Media Make Teens Materialistic?
A recent study by the Central China Normal University investigated how upward social comparison on social networking sites (SNS) contributes to adolescent materialism.
A sample of 880 Chinese adolescents, aged 12–19 years, completed several questionnaires. The study is published in The Journal of Psychology.
The findings suggest that upward social comparison on social media encourages materialism in adolescents and reduces self-esteem and mindfulness. It is further claimed that promoting mindfulness and stress-management techniques can not only combat low self-esteem in teens but also reduce the negative effects of harmful social media use.
Addressing Obsessive Use Of Social Media And Materialism
Addressing how social media affects materialism in adolescents, in the long run, requires a multi-faceted approach that involves both individual and environmental factors.
On an individual level, promoting healthy habits and mindful social media use (such as setting limits on screen time and engaging in activities that promote real-life interactions) can help reduce the negative effects of social media and materialism on adolescent mental health. Practicing mindfulness and gratitude can also help shift focus away from material possessions and towards personal growth and positive relationships.
On an environmental level, promoting healthy values and behaviors (such as encouraging positive social norms around materialism and social media use) can help create a culture that supports healthy adolescent development.
Educating and promoting media literacy and critical thinking skills can also help adolescents navigate the complexities of social media and resist the pressure to engage in materialistic behaviors. Finally, parents and caregivers can model healthy social media use habits and provide support and guidance to help adolescents develop healthy habits and values.