Many quantitative studies have supported the association between social media use and poorer mental health, with less known about adolescents’ perspectives on social media’s impact on their mental health and wellbeing. This narrative literature review aimed to explore their perspectives, focusing on adolescents aged between 13 and 17. It reviewed qualitative studies published between January 2014 and December 2020, retrieved from four databases: APA Psychinfo, Web of Science, PubMed and Google Scholar. The literature search obtained 24 research papers. Five main themes were identified: 1) Self-expression and validation, 2) Appearance comparison and body ideals, 3) Pressure to stay connected, 4) Social engagement and peer support and 5) Exposure to bullying and harmful content. This review has highlighted how social media use can contribute to poor mental health – through validation-seeking practices, fear of judgement, body comparison, addiction and cyberbullying. It also demonstrates social media’s positive impact on adolescent wellbeing – through connection, support and discussion forums for those with similar diagnoses. Future research should consider adolescent views on improvements to social media, studying younger participants, and the impact of COVID-19 on social media use and its associated mental health implications.


Popat, Anjali, and Carolyn Tarrant. “Exploring Adolescents’ Perspectives on Social Media and Mental Health and Well-Being – A Qualitative Literature Review.” Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry 28, no. 1 (January 2023): 323–37. https://doi.org/10.1177/13591045221092884.

Personal Analysis:

The paper’s most impressive feature is its lack of prejudice in exploring the topic. For example, in the section on self-expression and validation, the paper brings up an interesting point: how some adolescents create spam accounts with their close friends to share content without the anxiety of being judged, or even create personal accounts just for themselves to use as a journal or self-development tool. (Popat & Tarrant, 2022). Moreover, teenagers in this research explained that they feel pressure to stay connected in order to keep their connections, which is related to peer pressure. Another advantage of social media that adolescents noted is that it is much simpler for them to create connections among their peers online without the pressure of in-person interactions, and they may develop their relationships via online communications. They can also get more comfortable sharing their feelings and thoughts online and receiving social support to seek professional mental help. One intriguing finding was that teenagers mostly spoke in the third person about their challenges from social media, indicating that they were normalizing their own behavior in contrast to others who may be ‘addicted’ to social media(Popat & Tarrant, 2022). Lastly, she suggested that future studies should go beyond monitoring screen usage when analyzing this issue, which I agree with because screen usage is not the only aspect to examine in this issue.