Time Limits on Social Media Decrease Anxiety in Teens


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Young woman with long fair hair wearing blue dress holding smartphone with both hands and looking at the screen. Concrete wall with colorful social media icons

Abby Gobler, Staff Writer

Researchers show that the more time teens spend on social media and technology the more severe their symptoms of anxiety and depression are. In fact, a study conducted by The Child Mind Institute suggests that young adults who spend most time on Instagram have a 66% higher depression rate than those who spent the least time. 

This is because as teens scroll through the posts on Instagram or Snapchat stories they are viewing people’s filtered lives.  

Social media is a highlight reel of all users “best moments.” No one wants to show off their days where they are sad or sick, they show off photos when they feel confident or are having fun. This “highlight reel” mentality creates a warped reality for teens, causing them to be more critical of themselves and others.

So how can we reverse this? It’s actually quite simple. The answer to our cell phone addiction caused anxiety is, time limits on social media. Apps like Instagram offer in app-time limits. Other apps can be easily limited through the settings on your iPhone. 

Simply, go into “Settings” on your iPhone, then into “Screen Time”, and then click on “App Limits.” From “App Limits” then you click “Add Limit” and you can select any app you want a restriction for.  You can make your restriction for as long or as short as you like.  

Once the time limit is up you will be notified with a pop up telling your “your time is up”. This is the tough part. You can either listen to the limit you set or bypass it by continuing your app usage. Although it is hard, your future self will thank you for limiting your time on social media.  

Instead of continuing your time on social media, there are far more productive and healthy ways to spend your time. For example, going for a walk, or playing with your pets, listening to music or a podcast. 

Learn to leave your phone behind and enjoy living in the moment.