BusinessIs Snapchat Detrimental for Teen Mental Health?

Is Snapchat Detrimental for Teen Mental Health?

The youth of today are glued to social media. Snapchat is an app that most teens are fond of and use regularly. It’s because the app enables them to connect with others and check their activities all day long.

However, it’s important to look at it beyond the silly dog features and disappearing messages for a while. Snapchat has been proving harmful to teen mental health and children’s development. 

On the surface, the app appeared harmless to most. Unfortunately, the chances of being able to forward harmful content can create a world of trouble.

If you want to know how this app can affect teen life and mental health, keep reading.

Snapchat’s Solar System Under the Scanner

Recently, affected families have filed a Snapchat lawsuit because the app was harming their kids’ mental health. The platform came up with a feature called Solar System with a monthly subscription of $3.99. It showcased the friends of a user in a ranking structure akin to the solar system.

Based on the frequency of snaps and conversations, the features showed which friends were close. The planets were used to determine which connections were distant and near. 

The Wall Street Journal shared that it was creating distress among the teens. Responding to this, the social media giant stated that it would switch off this feature for its users. But it is still available for curious teens who want to use it.

Anxiety because of excessive social media use is common among teens. A few older studies also asserted that it led to suicidal thoughts and depression among youth, especially girls. A Harvard case study long ago suggested that it led to loneliness, sleeplessness, and worry in teenagers. The effects still hold the same, and teens must be mindful of their social media use.

Snapchat Can Cause Eating Disorders

Often, teens develop body dysmorphia and can get keenly involved with food and healthy eating. TorHoerman Law states that when this habit becomes obsessive, it is called an eating disorder. 

The eating disorders that teens develop after using Snapchat stem from unrealistic beauty standards. It can make one feel completely dissatisfied with how their body feels and looks. Bulimia and anorexia nervosa are the two prominent eating disorders that teens often develop from social media use.

It all starts by skipping meals and becoming excessively conscious of calorie intake. In an attempt to cut out all fats, teens often leave out vital nutrients required for adequate energy. Hence, they become weak and fatigued, which shows in the way they look and feel. That‌ creates further dissatisfaction and results in depression and social isolation.

Snapchat and Drug Sales

As if effects like stress, anxiety, and eating disorders weren’t enough, Snapchat today is linked with drug dealers. In January 2024, ABC News shared that several families are suing Snap Inc., which is the parent company of this social media giant. 

There were more than 60 family members of kids who stated that their children sourced illegal drugs through Snapchat. These dealers connect with teens and mislead them. There were two cases where the kids died after using drugs sourced from this platform.

The lawsuit throws light on the role of Snap and Snapchat in illegal drug sales to youth. This seems to be the natural fallout of the structures, policies, and designs that Snap decided to deploy to maximize revenues.

Snapchat has a set of features that make it stand out from other apps. It includes automatically deleted messages, a ‘My Eyes Only’ privacy feature, and geolocation functionality. All these make any questionable activity challenging to trace, and it lures the drug dealers to plant their plans.

Dr. Laura Berman, a television host, said that her son Sammy faced a similar predicament. Sammy was a 16-year-old student and died in 2021. The reason was getting overdosed on a fentanyl-laced pill that he obtained from a person he came across on Snapchat.

Therefore, such criminal activities targeted at teens are detrimental. Other than affecting their physical and mental well-being, it also adds ample tension for their parents.

All in all, Snapchat is one other social media platform that leads to teen mental health issues when used without discretion. Parents must be aware of the hazards of allowing their teens to use it in excess. 

They must keep track of their kids’ behavior to know if they are adversely affected by this social media. If the aftereffects are life-threatening, it is necessary to get medical and psychological help, after which parents can seek legal recourse.

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