Social Media and its Effects on Adolescents Self-Esteem

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At times when people see others post selfies/body pictures on social media, people may think that those individuals have the highest self-esteem. When in reality most of the time those who post the most have the lowest self-esteem of them all (Veldhuis,Vaate,Keijer,& Konijn, 2018). It is hard to be an adolescent that invests so much time on social media, and comparing yourself to the people you see on social media or television. Adolescents are now comparing themselves to people who probably struggle with their own self-esteem, and it's an ongoing cycle (Woods & Scott, 2016). This paper has five peer-review articles that speak on this topic of social media having an impact on the self-esteem of adolescents. Some of the peer-reviewed articles are quantitative, and there are some of the articles that are both quantitative and qualitative. The quantitative articles have numerical facts from surveys and tests that the researchers have gone through with different age groups of youth people.

Search Process

My paper topic is social media affecting adolescents' self-esteem. When I was looking for articles for this topic it was relatively easy. The first time I searched for this topic I was more specific, but I noticed being too specific was not getting me a lot of results in the search bar. At first I used the key words adolescents, self-esteem issues, social media, racial and ethnic groups. When I used those keywords only two articles came up in the search. I then switched up some of the words around, I used these key words the second time around, adolescents, self-esteem, social media. When I used those particular key words I found so much more articles in the search. I then began to skim through some of the articles and I skimmed through the abstracts in a couple of the articles. Within the matter of twenty minutes I found about eight articles.

This topic is such an important topic people do not seem to realize. Adolescents are going through depression and are coming suicide due to what is portrayed on social media. They are dying physically and mentally because they want to look like people who are not even their true selves. I selected the following journals Psychology Reports, New Media & Society, Emotion, Psychology of Popular Media Culture, Journal of Adolescence.

Key Findings

Social media has a large impact of the lives of current adolescents. Facebook and Twitter have change interpersonal relationships. Adolescents are the sector of the population who use most these networks. They use them in an emotional way, to express their emotions and to comment on those of others. Empathy, narcissism, and self-esteem may play an important role in the use of these networks (Errasti, Amingo, & Villadangos, 2017).

The studies identified that the health impact of social media on children and young people was greatest on mental health and specifically in the areas of self-esteem and well-being, with related issues around cyber bullying and depression, with an association between the use of social media and self-esteem and body image. However, it is difficult to determine the cause and effect, which is likely to be related to the nature of the young person. There is little work on the impact of social media on younger children. More research is needed to identify those most at risk of harm from social media and risk mitigation strategies to assist health-care professionals to provide essential education for parents and young people. (Seo, Houston, Knight, & Inglish, 2014).


The research shows how social self-efficacy, collective self-esteem, and need to belong can be used to predict teens' use of social media. Due to the enormous popularity of social networking sites (SNSs), online and offline social lives seem inextricably linked, which raises concerns for how SNS use relates to psychological health. Similarly, the omnipresence of selfs on SNSsa form of appearance-related exposureraises concerns regarding psychological health. This study aimed to investigate the relationships between body image, self-objectification, self-esteem, and various self behaviors among young women. (Twenge, Martin, & Campbell, 2018). The researchers hypothesized that a worsened body image (i.e., higher body dissatisfaction or lower body appreciation), higher levels of self-objectification, and lower self-esteem would precede greater engagement in self behaviors. Structural equation modeling showed that body appreciation is associated with greater engagement in self selection and deliberate posting, and that self-objectification is related to greater engagement in all self behaviors assessed. (Twenge, Martin, & Campbell, 2018).

 In nationally representative yearly surveys of United States 8th, 10th, and 12th graders 1991-2016, psychological well-being (measured by self-esteem, life satisfaction, and happiness) suddenly decreased after 2012. Adolescents who spent more time on electronic communication and screens (e.g., social media, the Internet, texting, gaming) and less time on non-screen activities (e.g., in-person social interaction, sports/exercise, homework, attending religious services) had lower psychological well-being. Adolescents spending a small amount of time on electronic communication were the happiest. Psychological well-being was lower in years when adolescents spent more time on screens and higher in years when they spent more time on non screen activities, with changes in activities generally preceding declines in well-being. (Veldhuis, Alleva, Vaate, Keijer, & Konijn,2018).


Social media can be a good thing but at the same coin it can also be very negative. In the research provided it lets us know that social media usually has a negative impact on our adolescence, but social media can also impact our adolescents in a positive way if done correctly. If our adolescents are more focused on people who actually look just like them who are confident that will help them be confident also. Everything is good in moderation.


  1. Errasti, J., Amingo, I., & Villadangos, M. (2017). Emotional uses of Facebook and Twitter its relation with empathy, narcissism, and self-esteem in adolescence.
  2. Psychology Reports, 120(6), 997-1018.
  3. Seo, H., Houston, J B., Knight, L., & Inglish, E. (2014). Teens' social media use and collective action.
  4. New Media & Society, 16(6), 883-902.
  5. Twenge, J., Martin, G., & Campbell, W. (2018). Decreases in psychological well-being among American adolescents after 2012 and links to screen time during the rise of smartphone technology.
  6. Emotion, 18(6), 765-780.
  7. Veldhuis, J., Alleva, J., Vaate, A.,  Keijer, M., & Konijn,E. (2018). Me, my selfie, and I: The relations between selfie behaviors, body image, self-objectification, and self-esteem in young women.
  8. Psychology of Popular Media Culture, 1-16.
  9. Woods, H., & Scott, H. (2016). #Sleepyteens: Social media use in adolescence is associated with poor sleep quality, anxiety, depression and low self-esteem.
  10. Journal of Adolescence, 51, 41-49.


 Reading and trying to understand peer-reviewed articles is a very tedious process that requires critical thinking skills. Over the years I realized that it is a very time consuming process but it is very important to take the initial steps. One of the most important subtitles in a peer-reviewed article is the abstract. The abstract helps detect if an article is relevant or not relevant. The other sections of a peer-reviewed article are also helpful the second most important sections of a peer-reviewed article are the methods section and the discussion section. It took me sometime to understand the importance of peer-reviewed articles. But now I understand how they can help a research paper. Most the time peer-reviewed articles answer questions that someone may have about a topic, and that is the main reason when writing a research paper it is highly advised to use peer-review articles. When going through the information in a peer-reviewed article it is good to take your time to read and fully understand everything that is being written and to take notes. This helps you be organized and is very helpful when writing a research paper, because you have your notes to refer to. The entire process from finding articles in the University's database to analyzing article to find themes was excellent practice for any writings I may have to do in the future.


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Social Media and its Effects on Adolescents Self-Esteem. (2019, Jul 27). Retrieved July 20, 2024 , from

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