When adolescent psychiatrist Dr. Drew Pate counsels patients or speaks to parenting groups, questions about social media use inevitably arise.
Parents wonder if their children’s constant use of Instagram, Facebook or Snapchat is healthy. Teenagers talk about the pressure to post the perfect photo or compete with the pristine lives their peers present on the internet.
“When you talk to parents and see kids in the office, we hear more and more about the potential damage being caused by social media outlets,” said Pate, who works for Sheppard Pratt Health System. “I think almost any adolescent who is involved in any social media has probably had some negative effect from it.”
Researchers and scientists still are trying to figure out how social media use affects young people. So far, the evidence is mixed and there’s no broad consensus on the long-term consequences of excessive social media use.