Depression, especially in teens, has been shown to have links to depression before. But another study claims the issue is far more serious. This research appeared in the TLC&AH journal. It interviewed over 10,000 children aged between 13 and 16. Girls who used social media reported increased bullying along with lower levels of physical exercise and sleep. Russell Viner from UCL GOSICH stated that while social media isn’t inherently harmful, frequent usage can disrupt activities, which impact mental health in a positive manner like exercising and sleeping. It also increases exposure to cyber bullying and harmful content.
Bob Patton of Surrey University stated that this meant steps to reduce social media usage will not help improve mental health or well-being. Patton stated that strategies ought to focus on increasing resilience to online bullying and promote ideal exercise and sleep behaviors. This would reduce both psychological and physical harm, he said. Mental health impact for boys is different for other reasons, requiring further research for figuring it out. This research interviewed teenagers once every year between 2013 and 15. They reported the frequency with which they used or checked social media platforms, including Snapchat, Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook. Using it over 3 times a day was marked as ‘very frequent’.
The time period of each session wasn’t recorded, which limited the study’s findings to a great extent. During the 201–15 interviews, they also asked about their well-being and psychological issues and about things like anxiety, life satisfaction and happiness. In both genders, frequent usage of social media translated to greater mental health issues. Girls were more affected by it. The more they used social media websites, the deeper their mental health issues.
However, over 60% of psychological problems prevalent in girls were explained for by their exposure to online bullying and lower quality of sleep. Decreased physical exercise did not cause many problems. Ann DeSmet of Ghent University stated if cyber bullying exposure could be decreased and healthy lifestyles should be promoted, then social media usage could be endorsed for its positive effects.