Social Media and Teenagers

The Effects of 21st Century Social Media on Teenage Mental Health

This project is a requirement of the GOA Abnormal Psychology Course. Using the process of design thinking, a challenge in the world of mental health was identified, interviews and research were undertaken, and a solution prototype was developed. Below you will find information about the identified area of concern and my proposed solution. Please feel free to provide feedback on this prototype, using questions such as “How might we…”, “What if….?”, “I wonder….”, “I like…”, and “I wish.” Keep the comments positive, please. For more information on the process of Design Thinking, click here.


It is commonly known that technology has an impact on our psyche and brain.

However, the impacts of technology are not considered when an individual uses it. Growing up in Silicon Valley, I was raised surrounded by the headquarters of tech companies like Apple, Google, Facebook, Netflix, Oracle, Tesla, Intel, etc. My father works for a tech company, my friends parents work for tech companies, and my classmates have built a desire to work for tech companies.

When I started this project, I Google searched “mental illness statistics in silicon valley” and pages of articles like these popped up:


These articles have been recently written about teenagers, like me, growing up in an area where technology is developing faster than ever. Why were there so many articles discussing Silicon Valley’s mental health problems? Will the developed area I live in ever disrupt my mental health? In my project, I wanted to research the true correlation between technology and mental health.



As identified above, the use of social media has become more and more common throughout the beginning of the 21st century. Because of the world my generation has grown up in, we are prone to identifying with a false sense of reality. Photoshopped images on Instagram, advertisements, billboards, and magazines provide teenagers with a jaded idea of how life is suppose to be. Unfortunately, people never question these “perfect posts” and instead compare themselves to unrealistic expectations.

Teenage athletes, friends, students, and family members need to gain a deeper understanding of the effects of social media on their decisions and emotions because in the 21st century people can be too reliant on social media, creating a false sense of identity and reality.


Do you spend just as much time using technology as any other teenager? Find out here!


The amount of time spent and reliance on technology is concerning and has a direct correlation to teenager’s mental health. If people do not realize the negative impacts of technology, mental health statistics will continue to escalate.


My solution is inspired by Gary Turk who produced a spoken word film called Look Up.

My prototype is to create an enforced two-day social media program at my school called “Look Up.” Below is the letter that will be sent home to student’s parents regarding the program.

Below is a copy of the pamphlet that will be passed out to students once “Look Up” concludes.

Similar “day without media” program’s have been successfully completed.

Additional Resources: 

Is Overuse of Technology Affecting Mental Health?

3 Ways Technology Is Messing With Our Mental Health


“Facebook And Mental Health: Is Social Media Hurting Or Helping?” Mental Help Facebook and Mental Health Is Social Media Hurting or Helping Comments. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2017.

“Make Political PR Great Again.” Trisight Communications. USC Annenberg, n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2017.

“The Photo on the Left Is Me on a ‘normal’ Day, and On the Right Is the Side of Me Nobody Sees,” Wrote Pete Laws in a Facebook Post Monday. “Social Media and Mental Health: ‘We Are More than Our Profile Pictures’.” CNNMoney. Cable News Network, n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2017.

Share this project
  1. April 28, 2017 by Sydney Lin

    That’s really cool you can get your whole school to go tech free for 2 days! I don’t think many schools could do that. But don’t you think that the use of some technology in moderation is beneficial for students in this era?

  2. April 29, 2017 by Grace L

    Wow! Your site is full of great information and great images. I love all of the examples and evidence you have to support your topic. I also think that your topic is a very interesting topic and one very important for teenagers to discuss and engage in. You have done a great job with this! I love the connection between technology and mental health!

  3. April 30, 2017 by Haley P

    This is such a cool site! I really loved how you included lots of images and different ways to engage with the material. I also liked that you drew some personal connections to the topic and I felt like I could relate in a lot of ways!

  4. April 30, 2017 by Claire N

    This is great information to know!

  5. April 30, 2017 by Emil B

    Super cool project. You brought to my attention how dependent I am on my phone and social media. I could not even begin to picture how it would be like living without it. It must be a good challenge though. I have had friends go to camps where phone’s were not allowed at all. They suffered, but ended up enjoying their time even more after the first couple days. Crazy how normal this addiction is in our day and age. Really interesting read!

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