Does social media make teens unhappy? It may depend on their age.

Yet research looking for a direct relationship between social media and well-being has found little. “There have been absolutely hundred...


Yet research looking for a direct relationship between social media and well-being has found little.

“There have been absolutely hundreds of these studies, almost all showing fairly small effects,” said Jeff Hancock, a behavioral psychologist at Stanford University who conducted a meta-analysis of 226 such studies.

What’s remarkable about the new study, said Dr Hancock, who was not involved in the work, is its scope. It included two surveys in Britain totaling 84,000 people. One such survey followed more than 17,000 teens aged 10 to 21 over time, showing how their social media consumption and life satisfaction changed from year to year. other.

“Just in terms of scale, it’s fantastic,” said Dr Hancock. The rich analysis based on age, he added, is a major improvement over previous studies, which tended to group all adolescents together. “The teenage years aren’t like a constant period of developmental life — they bring rapid change,” he said.

The study found that in early adolescence, heavy social media use predicted lower life satisfaction ratings one year later. For girls, this sensitive period was between 11 and 13 years old, while for boys it was between 14 and 15 years old. Dr Orben said this gender difference could simply be because girls tend to reach puberty earlier than boys.

“We know that teenage girls go through a lot of development earlier than boys,” Dr. Orben said. “There are many things that could be potential drivers, whether social, cognitive or biological.”

The boys and girls in the study reached a second period of social media sensitivity around the age of 19. “It was quite surprising because it was so consistent across genders,” Dr. Orben said. Around this age, she says, many people go through major social upheavals — like starting college, working a new job, or living independently for the first time — that could change the way they interact with social media. , she said.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Does social media make teens unhappy? It may depend on their age.
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