Using social media sites like Twitter or Instagram can be as simple as breathing for some adolescents and teenagers, and it costs about the same. However, according to a new study presented on Wednesday, there may be a hidden cost: their mental health.
As with all technology, there is a negative side to it. Social media, in particular, can have a harmful impact on youth who suffer from or are at risk of mental illness. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 49.5 percent of teenagers will experience any mental disorder over their lives, and 22.2 per cent will experience severe mental disability. In addition, young adults (ages 18 to 25) had the greatest rate of mental illness of any adult age group: 25.8%, compared to 22.2 percent for those aged 26 to 49 and 13.8 percent for those aged 50 and over.
According to the Pew Research Center’s 2018 poll, the three most popular social media sites among teens are YouTube (used by 85 percent of teens), Instagram (72 percent), and SnapChat (69 percent ). According to a 2014-2015 teen survey, the percentage of teens who use Facebook has decreased from 71 percent in 2014 to 51 percent in 2018. People aged 16 to 24 spent an average of three hours and one minute each day on social media, according to a 2018 survey by GlobalWebIndex. Adolescents who use social media for more than three hours per day, according to research published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, “maybe at heightened risk of mental health disorders, particularly internalising problems.”
Social media can and does have a positive impact on children and teenagers, whether it is through the teaching of social skills, the strengthening of relationships, or simply being entertaining. Consistent use of these social platforms can have negative consequences, particularly for young users’ mental health and well-being.