According to a new study exposure of teenagers to social media may cause a lot more problems than previously thought. The new theory suggests that teenagers could face mental health issues if they are using social media too much. The study which was published in The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health, stated that using too much social media can affect sleep patterns and regular behavior among teenagers. Further the study states that it could also expose them to factors like bullying. The study states that these things can affect the physical as well as mental wellbeing of a child.
Dr. Russell Viner who is the Co-author of this study said that social media in itself isn’t harmful for teens, although prolonged usage can affect daily processes like sleep, physical activities etc. all of which has a positive impact on the body. Failing to perform these functions may result in stress, anxiety and physical health. He also added that it increases the chances of getting exposed to harmful content and even cyber bullying.
Under this study, data from about 10,000 English children in the age group 13-16 years was taken into consideration. The researchers interviewed children from 2014-2015 and asked them basic questions about their happiness, life, satisfaction and anxiety. They also asked questions related to social media platforms including major players like Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat etc.
After the interviews, researchers found out that the longer time they spent on social media platforms, the more problematic it got. It was also observed that the boys were less likely to be affected by cyber bullying and sleep issues significantly. The findings from the study suggest that limiting social media for teens isn’t an option anymore. Healthcare centers along with parents need to come up with better plans that can help teens with issues like cyber bullying, sleep disorders etc. Ann DeSmet, who is a professor, said that if the balance between real life and social media can be maintained, then maybe teens can harvest the benefits of social media as well.
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