Study links social media to anxiety risks in teens

Researchers say social media is just one factor that can really play into our mental health. A recent study published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry found that’s especially true for teenagers, specifically when it comes to anxiety.

High School senior Jack Michie says he believes his social media addiction caused serious issues with his health.

“I was 10 years old, in fourth or fifth grade, when I first got on Instagram,” Michie said.

Michie’s social media accounts ballooned from there.

He said by the time he started high school, he was on Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat, too.

“I wanted to be seen as happy, as popular,” Michie said. “I was tracking how many likes I was getting, who unfollowed me. When I was caring about all of these superficial things, I considered that an addiction."

Michie said that addiction eventually led to an eating disorder.

“I had this idea in my head of what this perfect body looked like, and I wanted to achieve that. I trace it back to social media,” he said.

Is your child spending too much time on social media? Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Is social media or your child’s phone the only thing that puts them in a good mood?
  • Do they get upset if you take it away?
  • Are they hiding it or using secret passwords?
  • Do they prefer being online more than spending time face-to-face with family or friends?
  • Can your child name three things they enjoy more than social media?

If you answered yes, professionals say it may be time to enforce stricter limits.

There are resources available to help.