The Impact of Social Media Marketing on Girls’ Mental Health

As the world becomes more and more digitized, children and teenagers get immersed in it along with adults.

These days, many boys and girls in the US and the EU have their smartphones and accounts on the most popular social media platforms: Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter.

However, free internet access and social media scrolling can affect their mental health badly, especially if we are talking about young girls.

Read further to learn more about that and find ways to protect your girls from bad social media influence.

How Social Media and their Icons can negatively affect young Girls

social mediagirls / image from Depositphotos

The number of people who regularly spend their time on social media is massive. In October 2023, there were 4.95 billion social media users worldwide.

Some of them are teenage girls. The 2022 survey showed that 45% of teenage girls in the US said they felt addicted to TikTok. 49% of them are addicted to YouTube, 34% — to Snapchat, and 33% — to Instagram.

The social media definition sounds quite harmless. According to it, social media are platforms used for the creation and sharing of content and ideas. And social media spaces can be harmless to some extent. They can be a source of inspiration, promote self-expression, and foster community.

However, there are potential negative impacts present as well:

Unrealistic Beauty Standards

Social media tends to emphasize flawless appearances and body shapes. Influencers often use filters, photo-editing tools, and professional styling to look perfect. While such standards can be difficult to achieve for regular people, young girls can feel pressured by them. This could lead to body dissatisfaction and self-esteem issues.

Comparative Culture

To many influencers, social media is a place where they can boast about their achievements and normalize the luxurious way of living not everyone can afford. Young girls can compare themselves to such influencers and more popular peers. Because of that, they can start feeling inadequate, or they believe they don’t meet societal expectations. The constant comparison can cause anxiety and eventually lead to a negative self-image.

Cyberbullying and Social Pressure

Cyberbullying is a global issue that affects even adults. The young audience, however, is even more vulnerable and therefore prone to be affected by it. Things like negative comments, unrealistic expectations, and online judgment can take a toll on young girls’ mental well-being. Furthermore, the pressure to gain likes, followers, and validation can create an unhealthy cycle of seeking external approval.

Distortion of Privacy

Influencers often share personal aspects of their lives daily. This level of transparency can make young girls believe that privacy is less important. Because of that, they can share more than they should and eventually compromise their privacy. This could also lead to more disturbing things, such as online harassment.

Influence on Consumerism

Social media lifestyle often includes lots of expensive products or services, along with excessive spending. Some influencers promote a culture of consumerism extensively, which can have an impact on various followers, especially young girls. They feel compelled to purchase specific products or mimic certain lifestyles to fit in or gain social acceptance. This can cause financial pressures and create an unhealthy focus on materialism.

FAQ: Why do girls get more followers than boys?

This is caused by various factors, such as societal norms, beauty standards, and the type of content shared. In many cases, girls may receive more followers because they focus more on visual content, fashion, and lifestyle, meeting the expectations and trends of social media platforms.

FAQ: Why do we have more girls than boys on social media?

The higher presence of girls than boys on social media can be caused by what society expects of young people. Girls can feel more encouraged to engage in social sharing, connect with friends, and be active on social media.

Girls on Social Media: how to ensure Safety and implement healthy Habits


Becoming aware of the potentially negative impact of social media on young girls is just part of the process.

Another essential part is to help these girls form healthy media habits.

Here’s how you can achieve that:

Promote Media Literacy

Teach girls to critically evaluate media content and to learn about cybersecurity. Encourage them to question messages, recognize photo editing, and understand the impact of filters. This can help girls view media influences with more scepticism and promote a more realistic perception of beauty.

Set Screen Time Limits

Set limits on the amount of time spent on social media, gaming, or watching content, and communicate with them clearly. This will help your children find a balance between online and offline activities to foster well-rounded development.

Encourage positive Role Models

Social media influencers aren’t the only ones your girls can associate with. You can look for more positive role models in the media and demonstrate them to the girls. Pick the ones who promote authenticity, diversity, and healthy lifestyles. Discuss their achievements and characteristics to reinforce positive values and aspirations.

Encourage open Communication

Create an environment where girls feel comfortable discussing their online experiences. Encourage open conversations about the content they see, how they perceive it, the challenges they may face, and any concerns they might have. This will allow you to offer your girls guidance and support when needed.

Lead by Example

Demonstrate healthy media habits by modelling responsible online behaviour. For instance, you can show your girls how to use social media mindfully, share positive content, and engage in respectful online communication. This way, you’ll set a positive example for girls to follow.

FAQ: Are girls more susceptible to social media influence than boys?

There is no universal susceptibility. In fact, individual responses to social media influence may vary. However, research suggests that societal pressures related to appearance and self-image can affect girls more significantly and, therefore, potentially make them more susceptible to certain aspects of social media influence compared to boys.

FAQ: What do girls do better than boys on social media?

All people differ in their abilities and behaviours, so it’s not a gender-based thing. Some of the girls can be more skilled in fostering social connections, communication, and community-building on social media, but that’s not a general rule.

To sum up

Social media can be a good influence, encouraging young people to learn new things, be creative, show their talents to the world, or even build social media management skills. However, social media can also negatively affect young people, especially if we’re talking about young girls. To avoid this, promote media literacy, encourage positive role models, and open communication, and demonstrate healthy media habits yourself.

Author Profile

Manuela Willbold
Blogger and Educator by Passion | Senior Online Media & PR Strategist at ClickDo Ltd. | Contributor to many Education, Business & Lifestyle Blogs in the United Kingdom & Germany | Summer Course Student at the London School of Journalism and Course Instructor at the SeekaHost University.