Taryn Dunmars

Doomscrolling plays a huge role in a teenager’s long-term health — and not in a good way. Teenagers who frequently scroll through social media have a greater chance of developing life-threatening mental health issues than those who infrequently use such platforms.  

Doomscrolling happens when a person scrolls through bad news on social media or news channels, and although the content makes the person sadder, they continue to scroll through more related content. The effects of doomscrolling can be dire, and especially for teens who often aren’t yet equipped with skills needed to detach from this type of content.

This post will provide insight on how doomscrolling can be harmful to a teenager’s long-term health, and what your organization can do to reduce this growing problem and its long-term effects.    

The Effects of Doomscrolling 

Gone are the days where scrolling through your phone was harmless. Light-hearted jokes and funny memes are now replaced with sad stories and videos about pertinent world issues. Doomscrolling can affect a young person’s health in more ways than one, with an increase in anxiety and depression being the most notable.

An article by the Mayo Clinic stated that social media can affect teenagers in a negative way by “distracting them” and “disrupting their sleep.” It also notes that those who are heavily dependent on social media are at a greater risk of developing “depressive symptoms.” 

In a study conducted by JAMA Psychiatry, they deduced that young tech users who spend more than three hours a day on social media sites “may be at heightened risk of mental health problems, particularly internalizing problems.”

When teenagers doomscroll, especially before they go to bed or as soon as they wake in the morning, the consequences are usually negative. What makes this issue even harder to tackle is the algorithm-based model that many popular social media platforms utilize. This means that if adolescents are engaging with content that will negatively affect their mental health, they will continue to see related content unless they alter their viewing habits, thus changing the algorithm.

Consequently, an article published by Harvard’s School of Public Health noted that harmful social media use has had the following effects on adolescents:

  • A significant influx in clinical level depression  
  • An increase in anxiety
  • More reported cases of suicide
  • An uptick in eating disorders       

The more a teenager doomscrolls, the more likely they are to experience other issues that can stem from poor social media use, such as “bullying and unrealistic views of other people’s lives,” as accredited to a 2021 article from Market Watch. 

Doomscrolling has significant consequences on a teen’s long-term health, and if left unaddressed, an increasing amount of young tech users will continue to suffer from anxiety and depression, body image issues, and suicide.

Counteracting the Effects of Doomscrolling  

Doomscrolling has negatively affected our society on a large scale, and many teens will bear the brunt of this phenomenon. Together, we must tackle this issue head on to create a better tomorrow for generations to come.  

So, what can your organization do to counteract the effects of doomscrooling and put the focus on teenagers’ long-term health? Sponsoring our digital wellness courses is a great starting point. EVERFI has educational content geared towards adolescents who are growing up in this fast-paced, digital world.

Through our courses like Ignition and Understanding Mental Wellness, we can help to significantly decrease the number of teens doomscrolling, and in turn, show them how to properly use social media without sacrificing their mental health.

Help us make a difference in the lives of young tech users by joining our Digital Wellness Network and sponsoring K12 courses to mitigate the negative impact of unhealthy technology use. With your help, we can give teens the tools they need to stop doomscrolling, safely navigate the digital world, and make their long-term health a priority.