Study Says, Heavy Social Media Use Harms Teens Mental Health

As per the study published in the Journal “The Lancet”, the excessive use of social media sites like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook etc. may lead to the psychological issues that too especially among teen girls.  The evidences from the research suggests that social media use is associated with mental health in young people.

For this research, the team took interview of around 10,904 young age students of England. In the interview they were asked to tell about the number of times and average hours they check their social media accounts during the day. After three years of the interview, the same teens that were involved previously were asked to evaluate their level of happiness, how anxious they feel and their satisfaction towards life. Multivariate regression and path models were used to examine associations between social media use and depressive symptoms.

The average age of participants was 14.3 years. Among all the participants, girls reported more hours of social media use than did boys. Over 2/5th of girls used social media for 3 or more hours per day compared with 1/5th of boys. Girls were even more likely to report fewer hours of sleep compared with boys and to report experiencing disrupted sleep often. Apart from this, on average girls had higher depressive symptoms scores compared with boys. In short, the negative impact of social media use on the mental health is significantly smaller.

“Our results suggests that social media itself doesn’t cause harm, but that frequent use may disrupt activities that have a positive impact on mental health such as sleeping and exercising, increasing exposure of young people to harmful content, particularly the negative experience of cyberbullying”, explained Russell Viner, co-author of the paper.

The findings of the research highlights the potential pitfalls of lengthy social media use for young people’s mental health. Findings are highly relevant for the development of guidelines for the safe use of social media and calls on industry to more tightly regulate hours of social media.

Russell Viner further added in his statement that, “the study does not mean that social media is inherently evil. In fact social media can have positive impact on teenagers, it’s just that you have balance all the important things too with social media activities”.
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