Social media’s three effects in teen girls | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 25, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, August 25, 2019

Social media’s three effects in teen girls

The association between frequent social media use and psychological distress among teen girls may be explained, in large part, by three factors, suggests a longitudinal study in the Lancet Child & Adolescent Health.

Roughly 10,000 U.K. adolescents answered a series of lifestyle and mental health questionnaires between the ages of 13 and 16. Some 43% reported using social media multiple times daily at ages 13–14, rising to 69% at ages 15–16. Among the other findings:

• Girls who used social media multiple times daily at ages 13–14 were more likely to later report psychological distress compared with those who used social media weekly or less (28% vs. 20%). Among boys, the difference was smaller (15% vs. 10%).

• Girls, but not boys, with persistently frequent social media use between ages 13 and 15 had greater odds of decreased life satisfaction, decreased happiness, and increased anxiety later.

• Cyberbullying, inadequate sleep, and insufficient physical activity accounted for nearly 60% of the association between social media use and psychological distress among girls — but only 12% among boys.

The researchers conclude, “Interventions to reduce social media use to improve mental health might be misplaced.”

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