Many children and young adults spend a lot of time on social media, much to the concern of their parents and guardians. Researchers at NTNU have now taken a closer look at the impact of using social media such as Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok on young people’s mental health.
But that is not the case if we are to believe the results of the study “Social media behaviors and symptoms of anxiety and depression. A four-wave cohort study from age 10-16 years”.
In the Trondheim Early Secure Study research project, researchers followed 800 children in Trondheim over a six-year period in order to look for correlations between the use of social media and the development of symptoms of mental illness.
“We have collected data every other year, from the year in which the children were ten years old until they turned 16 years of age. This enabled us to follow the children during the transition from childhood to adolescence. Symptoms of anxiety and depression have been identified through diagnostic interviews with both the children and their parents,” Steinsbekk explains.
The outcome of the study was the same for both boys and girls. The results were the same regardless of whether the children published posts and pictures via their own social media pages or whether they liked and commented on posts published by others.
Increased use of social media did not lead to more symptoms of anxiety and depression. Nor was it the case that those who developed more symptoms of anxiety and depression over time changed their social media habits.
In a recent article titled “Study Looks at the Impact of Social Media on Young People’s Mental Health,” researchers delve into the complex relationship between social media usage and the mental well-being of young individuals. The study, featured on News-Medical, underscores the need to understand the implications of extensive online engagement on adolescents’ mental health.
The research sheds light on how the omnipresence of social media platforms can influence the youth’s mental health. While these platforms offer connectivity and engagement, the study highlights concerns about the potential negative impact on mental health due to cyberbullying, social comparison, and excessive screen time. The study emphasizes that the effects are not uniform, with some experiencing positive connections while others face detrimental consequences.
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