Study shows Social Media use is related to Mental Health in youth

Social media is increasingly accessible among youth with affordable phones and the internet, especially in developed countries. Previously, there’s a report accusing that Facebook and Instagram may increase anxiety and depression for the youth, so researchers want to know that is there any association between how much time spent using social media and mental health problems.

Academically, there are few longitudinal studies have investigated this association, and none of them have quantified the proportion of mental health problems among adolescents attributable to social media use. So researchers designed a longitudinal cohort study of 6595 participants from September 12, 2013, to October 23, 2016, a large nationally representative cohort study of US adolescents. This study used household interviews using audio computer-assisted self-interviewing.

Based on the data analysis, they found that adolescents who spent more than 30 minutes of time on social media, compared with no use, were associated with an increased risk of internalizing problems alone. And the use of social media for more than 3 hours per day compared with no use remained significantly associated with internalizing problems alone.

So their research suggested that adolescents who spend more than 3 hours per day using social media may be at heightened risk for mental health problems, particularly internalizing problems. Accordingly, we may set limits on daily social media use, increase media literacy, and redesign the social media platforms, which seem to be effective means of reducing the burden of mental health problems in youth.

Read their full research: Associations Between Time Spent Using Social Media and Internalizing and Externalizing Problems Among US Youth | Adolescent Medicine | JAMA Psychiatry | JAMA Network


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Originally published at on February 23, 2022.



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