Has Quarantine Affected the Way Teens Use Social Media?


Julianna Hillman, PaperClip Staff/Writer

High schoolers across the globe have spent the year cooped up at home, and many have become absorbed with the wide variety of content that social media platforms offer. Not being able to see friends in person during quarantine has made social media an important aspect for teens to keep in touch. 

Though there are many positive and negative effects to using media platforms, has COVID-19 created a change in the way teens use it?

For a PHS psychology class, Claire Ellicott and Julianna Hillman, conducted a survey to hear from teens on how social media has affected them during the pandemic. Results have shown varied opinions  on social media but there was an overall increase in phone usage and social media usage. 

120 teenagers participated in the survey of 11 questions focusing on their personal experiences with social media. 83.2% of the respondents believe they have used social media more during the pandemic than previous times. The most popular apps being Tik Tok, Instagram, and Snapchat. 

64.7% of the respondents have felt left out or lonely in the past year due to scrolling through social media. This feeling is known as fear of missing out also known as “FOMO” and has become more common because of the ability to share everything you do through apps like Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram. 

On the contrary, the data has shown that 56.8% of the teens believe social media has more positive effects than negative. This proved half of the survey hypothesis wrong which stated, “Since quarantine has started, the amount of time teens have spent on their phones, especially social media, has increased. This in return has negative effects on their mental health.”

Portsmouth High School senior, Dominique Bunnell, believes the amount of time she has spent on social media has increased and some of the content is negative towards body image. Bunnell gave her take on the positive aspects saying, “I feel like it helps me tone my interests and clothing.”

Social media has become an important part of pop culture, especially for adolescents. Like almost every situation, there are positives and negatives to social media and its effects with mental health. During quarantine, social media acted as an escape, a way to stay in touch, or made people feel sad, lonely or insecure, depending on the person.