August 25, 2022

What a Healthy Relationship to Social Media Looks Like in Teenagers

In recent years, social media has become a hot topic in the world of mental health. Many studies have found that excessive time spent on social media can have negative effects on mental health, including depression and anxiety. 

As a result, many parents are trying to limit their teen's time spent with phones and other devices. But it's important for parents to understand that just because there is some evidence showing negative effects from using too much technology does not mean that all teenagers will suffer from those same issues if they spend too much time online—or even at all! 

In fact, many teens who spend large amounts of time interacting with friends through social media report feeling happier overall than those who spend less time online or interact more personally with others in person. 

This article will explain what it looks like when your child has healthy relationships with phone use and also offer some tips for how to help them build better habits around technology over time so they stay healthy as well!

They’re Not Always On Social Media

Whether they’re sitting at a desk in class or walking down the street, teenagers are often connected to their devices. But when they are on their phones, they aren’t constantly checking social media or messaging friends. They may be using it for schoolwork, games and apps that teach them new skills—or even just staying in touch with family members who may live far away.

This is something we see often among teens: They can spend hours on their phones without ever checking TikTok or Snapchat or Instagram. This kind of use can be good, because it contributes to teens' ability to focus for longer periods of time and think critically about what they're seeing online (rather than just consuming whatever comes across their screen).

The key here is that your teen doesn't spend all day updating statuses or scrolling through endless feeds.

How Does Social Media Make Them Feel

You should be able to tell that your teen is in a healthy relationship with social media by the way they feel when they are on it. If they feel bad, then their relationship is not healthy and you might need to step in.

If your teen feels good when they are on social media, then this can also be a sign that something is wrong. It’s ok if teens like being on social media! But if their life revolves around it and all other activities seem boring, then there may be something wrong with the way their relationships with friends online has taken over their lives.

They Can Have Healthy Conversations

It’s important to have conversations with your teen about social media because they are at a point in their life where their self-esteem and relationships are being formed. Emotions will run high and it can be difficult for them to talk about how social media may be affecting them.

To start off, you want to make sure that you don’t get too emotional yourself when talking about social media. If you do, then it will be hard for your teenager to talk openly with you about their feelings around it because they will feel like they need to defend themselves or stop the conversation altogether.

You also want to avoid saying things like “I don’t care if we ever use social media again!” or “You should definitely not spend time on TikTok anymore!” 

You want your teenager feeling comfortable enough with the topic of conversation so that they can think through their own perspective on what works best for them personally rather than simply trying out different suggestions from someone else until something sticks (or doesn’t).

They Take Breaks From Phones

At any age, it’s important to have regular breaks from phones and screens. Here are some opportunies to step away and re-connect with whats physically around you:

Right Before Bed

It's been proven that smartphones can interfere with sleep quality, so it's important for teens to turn them off at night and go to bed early enough so that they can get plenty of rest before school in the morning! 

During Meals / Homework

This is a great habit to get into, especially if you want time to check in and hear about their day. 

To make this easier on parents and teenagers alike, many families have agreed upon an hour or two as the "phone break" which family members must follow while eating together or doing homework every evening.

They Know Who They Are

A healthy relationship with social media means having a solid foundation of self-knowledge and knowing your values. If you're not sure who you are without the digital identity, it can be hard to figure out if something is right or wrong for yourself. It also makes it harder to know if someone else is being true to themselves as well.

If you don't know yourself well enough yet, start by looking at what's important in your life and what matters most to you—and what doesn't matter at all! 

Write down some things that come up often when thinking about yourself, like family, friends, health and fitness activities, favorite TV shows/movies/books, etc.

How To Make A Change

It's possible to have a healthy relationship with social media in your teen years, but it takes some effort and hard work to get there. Some tips for getting started include:

  • Talk about the importance of having a healthy relationship with your family and friends. If you're spending most of your time on social media, how much time does that leave for the people who are most important in your life? It's important to make sure these relationships don't suffer as a result of spending too much time online.
  • Talk about how you feel after using social media (or watching TV or playing video games). If you're feeling sad or anxious after using any of these things, it may be helpful for you and others in your life if you limit how much time spent using them each day.
  • Look at what types of things are being posted on social media sites—are they mostly positive or negative? What do they say about the culture surrounding these sites?


There are countless things, and divided opinions on what you can do as a parent to help your child develop healthier relationships with phones and social media. 

It's important to remember that these are just tools—they're not bad or good in and of themselves. It's how we use them that matters. If your teen seems overwhelmed by their phone and social media usage, encouraging them to spend time away from their devices can be helpful.

However, if they have other signs of depression or anxiety (like feeling down all the time), then it might be time for professional help from a psychologist or therapist who specializes in working with young people.