Social media platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat can be fun tools for expressing yourself and can help you feel more connected to your friends. But social media can also be risky and bad for your mental health when used without taking precautions to protect yourself. Social media use is linked to depression and cyberbullying. It is also important to set boundaries online to prevent issues coming from inappropriate communication or contact with family members or others who should be off-limits. Use these resources to learn how to use social media in a safe and healthy way.
5 Healthy Social Media Habits Every Teen Should Know
Shares five habits you can adopt to manage your time online and to use social media in a healthy and responsible way.
Surprising Ways Your Teen Benefits From Social Media
Describes ways that social media can be positive, including how it can strengthen friendships, reduce feelings of isolation, and provide peer support.
What Are the Positives of Social Media for Teens?
Newport Academy (2020)
Discusses the pros and cons of social media use and reviews ways that social media can have a positive impact on your life.
5 Ways Social Media Affects Teen Mental Health
Reviews how social media can impact teen health in negative ways and its influence on the young brain.
Dangers of Social Media
Destinations for Teens
Summarizes the dangers of too much social media usage and lists signs for you to watch out for that could indicate a social media addiction.
How Social Media Addiction Affects Teenagers
Northwest Primary Care
Explains social media’s impact on self-esteem, depression, and physical activity and the more negative aspects of the technology for you to be aware of.
The Influence of Social Media on Teen Drug Use
Shares links between social media use and cigarette, alcohol, and drug use. The article also describes how social media can affect your mental health.
Is Social Media Hurting Your Mental Health? [Video]
TEDx Talks (2017)
Presents a Ted Talk with social media expert Bailey Parnell, who describes how social media use may be impacting your mental health.
10 Tips for Setting Boundaries Online
Offers tips for setting healthy boundaries online to ensure that contact with family members or others is appropriate and beneficial.
Social Media Safety 101: Recognizing and Fighting Online Sex Trafficking
Shared Hope International
Shares information on how online traffickers operate and provides tips on how to protect yourself from becoming a victim on online sex trafficking.
Social Media Safety for Teens (PDF - 303 KB)
Provides a checklist to measure whether you are using social media in a safe and healthy way.
A Teens Guide to Social Media Safety
Safe Search Kids
Shares social media safety advice and includes information on how to adjust privacy settings for popular social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, and Instagram.
You Sent a Sext, Now What? (PDF - 1,096 KB)
Presents an infographic and information that describes what you can do to take control of the situation after you send a sext to someone.
Once something is posted on the internet, you can't control how it may be used. So, before you decide to make a comment or send a photo, ask yourself the following:
- How would I feel if someone other than the person who is supposed to see this content sees it?
- How would I feel if my parent, teacher, or caseworker saw this?
- Could this be offensive or hurtful to others?
- Will this hurt my chances of getting into college or getting a job? (Yes. College recruiters and employers look at social media pages!)