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Social Media & Teens

Blog post written by,

Ara Mascarenas, M.S

Registered Intern for Mental health Counselor Licensure

For most parents, the use of social media has become a part of their day-to-day life, which causes this behavior to become normalized and often not seen as problematic. Consequently, some parents might normalize these behaviors in their teens as well. What parents often forget to keep in mind is that a teenager's brain is significantly underdeveloped compared to that of adults, thus leaving them more vulnerable to being negatively affected by social media.

Due to having an underdeveloped brain, teenagers are not able to filter through information online. Many of my clients report often being puzzled when they come across social media content that is explicit. This means that a teenager might not be skillful enough to know what content is appropriate for their age. Additionally, teens are limited in their ability to question the validity of online content. In my clinical experience I have noticed that teenagers place a very high importance in being part of their social group and getting invited to social gatherings. For this age group, it can be hurtful to not be invited to an event and then learning about it online. Teenagers are at a unique moment in their lives where social connection and social interaction are imperative to establish a sense of community and belonging. Given their developmental stage, they present with limited self-awareness which ultimately leads them to self-criticism and self-blame when they feel left out from their group.

For these reasons the complex digital world might leave your teen feeling restless, tense, irritable, apathetic, and with a negative sense of self. All of symptoms might often indicate anxiety, depression, self-acceptance issues, and even eating disorders.

If your worried about your teen and they are displaying some of these symptoms, it might be time to seek professional help.

Ways in which you can support your child:

  • Normalize conversations around social and emotional well-being

  • Create an open and curious environment for your child to ask questions

  • Set boundaries by finding a good balance between screen time and other responsibilities

  • Create a tech-free time at home for everyone

  • Consider your own use of social media and what you are modeling to your child


Ara Mascarenas, M.S

Registered Intern for Mental health Counselor Licensure

I am interested in working with children, adolescents, and their families who are currently struggling with anxiety, depression, and behavioral issues. For more information about working with me and to get a FREE 30-minute phone consult, please call at 954.850.6633 or email me at

Services available in English/Spanish and Online.


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