Does Social Media Make Teens Unhappy? It May Depend on Their Age.

However, research looking for a direct link between social media and well-being has not found much.

Stanford University Behavioral Psychologist Jeff Hancock, who conducted a meta-analysis of 226 such studies, said that “hundreds of these studies have been performed, showing almost all very small effects.”

What’s remarkable about the new study, Dr. Hancock, who was not involved in the work, has his scope. It includes two surveys of a total of 84,000 people in Britain. The survey followed more than 17,000 adolescents between the ages of 10 and 21 over a period of time, showing how their social media usage and life-satisfaction rating varies from year to year.

“Just in terms of standard, it’s spectacular,” said Dr. Hancock said. He added that the rich age-based analysis is a major improvement over previous studies, which tend to make all adolescents lump together. “Adolescent years are not like some continuous period of developmental life – it brings rapid changes,” he said.

The study found that during early adolescence, life-satisfaction ratings were predicted to remain low for a year after heavy use of social media. For girls, this sensitive period was between 11 and 13 years, while for boys it was 14 and 15 years. Dr. Orban said the sex difference could only be because girls reach puberty earlier than boys.

“We know that teenage girls go through development earlier than boys,” said Dr. Said Orban. “There are a lot of things that potential drivers can be, whether it’s social, cognitive or biological.”

Both boys and girls in the study hit a second period of social media sensitivity around the age of 19. “It was quite surprising because it was so consistent across races,” said Dr. Said Orban. Around that age, many people go through major social upheavals – such as starting a college, working in a new job or living independently for the first time – that could change the way they interact with social media, she said.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.