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    Social media is a risk to girls mental health.

    Social media is a risk to girls mental health.
    20th March 2018 Andrew Farquharson
    In Mental Wellbeing

    “Our new study set out to look at patterns of behaviour among ten to 15 year olds in the UK, and their levels of well-being, to see if all this time spent online was having a detrimental impact on their mental health. We found that teenage girls are by far the highest users of social media, and those who are using it for more than an hour a day are also at the highest risk of developing well-being problems in later teen years.”

    “We used the youth participants’ data from the UK household longitudinal study, Understanding Society, following almost 10,000 young people from diverse backgrounds across the whole country between 2009 and 2015.”

    “We asked the young people to report on how much time they spent on social media on a “normal school day”. A few reported no internet access or no time spent at all, but some were on it for four hours or more. We found that 10% of ten-year-old girls reported spending one to three hours a day (compared with 7% of boys) and this increased to 43% of girls at age 15 (and 31% of boys).”

    “We assessed two measures of well-being for these young people. The first was a combined score of their answers to questions about satisfaction with schoolwork, friends, family, appearance, school and life as a whole. The second measure was a well-established questionnaire which asked the young people about their social and emotional difficulties.”

    “At age ten, girls who interacted on social media for an hour or more on a school day had worse levels of well-being compared to girls who had lower levels of social media interaction. Additionally, these girls with higher social media interaction at aged ten were more likely to experience more social and emotional difficulties as they got older. While our study was unable to say that the higher level of social media use among young girls directly caused the mental health issues, there was a strong association.”

    Cara Booker: Research Fellow and Deputy Director of Graduate Studies, Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Essex: Read the full story