For better or worse, we live in a highly connected world, where entertainment and social media are closely interwoven. Teens engage heavily with Twitch, YouTube, Snapchat, and Discord. There, they build online communities, disappearing into their screens for hours as they interact with different subcultures and types of discourse. For many teens, social media is a crucial part of their lives; streamers, influencers, and the goings-on of these online communities form the connective tissue of their relationships.

At the same time, it can also lead to depression, isolation, and low self-esteem. In today’s post, we’ll explore how disconnecting can help your teens reconnect—even if it feels like the end of the world.

Effects of Social Media

teens using phoneSocial media is addictive by design, taking advantage of the mechanics of our brains to deliver little shots of dopamine that keep teens coming back for more. Each time they have a pleasant interaction, get a like on something they post, or see something that brings them joy, there’s a little chemical bliss that takes place. At the same time, social media often exposes them to toxic individuals and cyberbullying; it can also distort their self-image in several critical ways.

It’s easy to lose track of time and lose oneself in social media; screens are disruptive to our sleep patterns under the best of circumstances. Having that screen in the palm of your hand exacerbates the likelihood of disrupted sleep, which can have a cascading effect on the rest of our lives. This can lead to:

  • Depression

  • Difficulty with Problem Solving

  • Increased anxiety

  • Irritability

  • Lack of Focus

  • Loss of Motivation


Social media can help keep us connected, but when it draws too much attention, the focus in our lives shifts from the people around us to the online world. This creates the conditions for isolation. Teens may hide themselves away in their rooms while losing themselves to the world of social media. They still have rich inner lives, but it becomes harder for the people around them to understand what’s happening inside them.

Communication Difficulty

Communicating via text or social media is different than communicating in real space with people. Teens who overindulge in social media may struggle to learn how to read social cues in face-to-face situations. Skills like those, which we often take for granted, are critical.

Benefits of Limiting Social Media

Brighter Outlook

The online landscape is full of people trolling for clicks by creating material to elicit an emotional reaction. Influencers dabble in rage-baiting, political scaremongering, and manufacturing crises to garner attention. Pulling the plug on social media can help teens escape the constant barrage of bad news.

Improved Self-Esteem

Our social media is full of highly curated, often photoshopped or AI-crafted, content. In that environment, teens may develop unhealthy beliefs about their appearance or abilities. Removing or limiting social media helps by giving them time to reorient and create new, more realistic expectations. With improved self-esteem comes reduced anxiety, and more willingness to connect with friends and peers in the real world.

Bonding & Routine

Limiting access to social media in the evenings offers benefits in two different ways. First, it’s critical to restore the proper sleep patterns that underpin our physical and mental health. Second, it creates opportunities to connect as a family. Consider replacing social media in the evenings with group activities. Creative activities, watching a film together on the couch, or establishing a ‘silent book club’ are all examples of alternatives.

Schedule an Appointment

Our teens are growing up in a world far more complex than any that has ever existed before. What’s more, the world they’re entering is highly tuned to grab their attention and keep it. Since social media is crucial to many teens’ social lives, pulling the plug can be a fraught experience, and often must be approached with care. If you’re struggling to manage the role of social media in your teen’s life, reach out today to learn more about teen therapy.

Skip to content