Teen anxiety problems driven by social media?

Teens are said to be suffering from anxiety, more so than in the past. No one cause is identified but social media is called out:

“When I asked Eken about other common sources of worry among highly anxious kids, she didn’t hesitate: social media. Anxious teenagers from all backgrounds are relentlessly comparing themselves with their peers, she said, and the results are almost uniformly distressing.

Anxious kids certainly existed before Instagram, but many of the parents I spoke to worried that their kids’ digital habits — round-the-clock responding to texts, posting to social media, obsessively following the filtered exploits of peers — were partly to blame for their children’s struggles. To my surprise, anxious teenagers tended to agree. “

Discussion

Until last winter, I was very anxious about logging into Facebook. Each day I was confronted with other people’s negativity, bitterness, anger – and their control issues as they sought, through their use of social media to propagandize others to adopt their agenda. Literally, I was on edge each time I logged into Facebook as my stomach would churn like butterflies fluttering. I avoided logging into FB in the evening, worried I’d be left upset about whatever and have trouble getting to sleep.

With my new awareness of propaganda techniques I recognized the effects propaganda was having on me.  Anger, fear and emotional hot buttons are powerful motivators in the propaganda tool box and are used daily to attack each of us. The constant onslaught of negativity, anger and fear can lead to anxiety and depression in the target.

  • My solution was to recognize I was being manipulated by others seeking to control my emotions and my thoughts through the tools of propaganda.
  • I had to decide: stay on social media or leave it entirely? I chose to stay, but on my terms.
  • I cleaned up my newsfeed to get rid of the anger, the negativity, and the bitter control freaks seeking to engage us with every post.

These steps eliminated the anxiety I felt when using social media. Today, I log in to read helpful posts from hobby groups I belong to. I post helpful tips to others in those groups. I read fun updates from friends about events and sometimes their accomplishments. I turned social media into a positive, supportive environment rather than a stinking cess pool of anger and hostility.

I also had an epiphany – the power that controlling persons exert on the rest of us: Social media has become the ideal platform for those who are compelled to control others[1]; such people are “neither nice nor respectful“.

None of us can change their behavior – we are best to walk away. They are the ones with a problem, not us.

“It’s when they start telling you who you are, what to wear, think, feel and do that they’re being controlling.”

“Controlling people often assume that they understand how you think, even when they actually don’t.”

“Questions can irritate a controlling person because they would rather be in control of the questioning, not anybody else.”

“controlling people will turn belittling or cruel at the drop of a hat, especially if they think you’ve done something wrong. If you frequently feel small, embarrassed, humiliated, or sad after this person talks to you, you might be involved with a controlling person.”

“Controlling people often demean or criticize others as a means of building themselves up and appearing superior and in control. In fact, a controlling person is easy to spot from the constant monologue about how rotten, stupid, evil, ridiculous, annoying, etc. everyone else is (presumably they’re never any of these things).”

(see this link for more about controlling persons and their behaviors)

I no longer feel badly for unfollowing or unfriending someone whose social media is consumed by anger and negativity as I free myself from their attempts to control me through their ranting.

Related

  • It’s said that Instagram is the social media platform for narcissists who constantly post photos of themselves, seeking adulation and approval from the masses.
  • Facebook is the social media platform for controlling personalities sometimes also known as control freaks and toxic personalities. The latter because of their toxic effect on everyone else.

Footnotes

[1] Many people are control freaks and try hard to control their surroundings and the  people within their environment. This is a subject for psychologists (a field of which I know little). Many of us have dealt with control freaks or may be have some controlling urges ourselves – learning to recognize how these behaviors are toxic to others is important. Learning how such toxicity has come to rule much of Facebook can help each of us walk away from the negativity and develop healthier minds as a result.

 

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