The Impact of Social Media on Teen Girls

Teen Girls and Social Media


Research has found that the more time girls spend on social media the more likely they are to be dissatisfied with their bodies and have low self-esteem. Many teen girls spend hours on Facebook hoping that they will get the most likes for the comments or photos they have posted. If they do not receive the response they expected it can lead to low self-esteem and depression.

Interviews done by New Flinders University prove these facts. Here are their findings:

New Flinders University researchers interviewed more than 1000 high school girls and found conversations about appearance were “intensified” on social media, and were more influential because they involved peers.

The girls who were first interviewed in years 8 and 9 were asked about their social media habits and self-esteem, then again when they were in years 10 and 11. By then, 90 percent had a Facebook account, with an average of 475 friends and were uploading pictures of themselves to the Internet. The time they spent on social media had blown out from 1 hour 45 minutes a day to 2½ hours.

The study further proved how teen girls felt about their body image and weight. Here are the results:

Even though 80 percent of the girls surveyed were classified as normal weight, 46 percent said they were dissatisfied with how much they weighed. “Time spent on social network sites was related to lower self-esteem, body-esteem, sense of identity and higher depression,” Amy Slater from Flinders University’s school of psychology, said.

Social commentator Melinda Tankard Reist said young girls seeking affirmation via social media were ”setting themselves up for negative mental health outcomes.”

“They feel they have to be on display,” she said. ”We live in a culture that rewards exhibitionism [and] everyone is judged on their physical appearance.”

Researchers also stated that social media has such a large impact on teen girls because it is extremely pervasive and interactive. If a teen girl already has low self-esteem due to the natural growing pains we all go through and then sees negative comments about something she has shared or a photo she has posted this could affect her in profound ways.

As you can see, social media is extremely important to teen girls. Because of its importance and impact on self-esteem and identity it is advisable for parents to monitor the best they can the things that are said and seen on social media by their teen girls, and boys for that matter.



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