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Study Shows Social Media Doesn't Really Affect Teens' Happiness

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Study Shows Social Media Doesn't Really Affect Teens' Happiness

If you grew up with social media or know a kid who has, chances are you've heard all about the negative effects of technology on young brains.

Endless scrolling has been linked to mental health issues among other things, especially on developing people - but now, a new study suggests that actually, there might not be that much to fear about children's use of social media.

In a study published in the journal PNAS which aims to answer the question: "Does the increasing amount of time adolescents devote to social media negatively affect their satisfaction with life?" scientists analysed 12,000 British teenagers over an eight-year (!) survey of UK households.

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The researchers found that spending more time on sites like Facebook and Instagram has a "trivial" impact on how "content" kids are with their lives, which is very different to what was previously thought.

Credit: Unsplash
Credit: Unsplash

There *was* a bit of a correlation between how content teens were and how much they used social media - lower life satisfaction led to an increase in social media use and social media use led to lower life satisfaction, but the trends were only "modest", according to the authors.

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No surprise, the effects were actually more clear in females than males.

Professor Andrew Przybylski, one of the lead authors, said that instead of worrying about screen time, we should actually worry about what teens are doing online, and whether it's harmful for our kids.

Credit: PA images
Credit: PA images
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He said: "On an individual basis, time shouldn't be the thing that parents are worrying about. Thinking about social media like it's a black box that has kind of a ticking clock on top of it - that way of thinking about screen time is almost certainly wrong."

They do however believe that generally, teens and young people should limit their screen time and try to get a good night's sleep and spend time socialising with actual, real people - but it isn't the actual usage of social media that is making teens unhappy necessarily, but what they consume on it.

Parents having a better understanding of social media will likely lead to kids having a better relationship with it overall, too.

Featured Image Credit: Unsplash

Topics: Life News, Mental Health, Real, Health

Marianne Eloise
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