“A young person’s real-world persona and online persona are so intertwined these days so for example, if they’re being vulnerable online or sharing something personal and not getting the reaction they were hoping for, it can be really upsetting.”
Jason also cited exposure to things like cyberbullying and youngsters drawing comparisons between their own life and that of their peers.
“We need to be clear about the fact that these platforms are designed in a specific way to keep young people online, and that reducing use is not always as simple as it sounds,” he added.
“We need to raise awareness about the impacts of social media overuse, and support young people to develop the skills they need to handle these new and evolving challenges.
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“There are only so many hours in the day and if time spent online is taking away from things that offer balance and a healthy mind frame, that’s where we run into problems.”
Social media is damaging our children warns another study
Frequent social media use exposes teenagers to cyber-bullying, affects their sleep and stops them from exercising say experts from another study by The Lancet child and adolescent health.
Checking Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat weekly means the risk of suffering “psychological distress” goes up by up to 20%.
10,000 UK kids aged 13 to 16 were analysed as part of the experiment and experts found that social media affects girls more than it does boys.
Unlike their male peers, girls are more likely to over share personal information or post false information about themselves or others, increasing the possibility of experiencing a bad reaction from peers such as bullying or negative comments.
Lead researcher Professor Russell Viner, from University College London, said: “While we obsess a lot about social media, how much do we obsess about how much our young people sleep? Not very much.”
“Our results suggest that social media itself doesn’t cause harm, but that frequent use may disrupt activities that have a positive impact on mental health such as sleeping and exercising, while increasing exposure of young people to harmful content, particularly the negative experience of cyber-bullying,” study co-author Russell Viner of the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health said in a statement.
Dr Louise Theodosiou, from the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said social media giants must do more to protect kids.
She said: “We’ve seen a worrying rise in low mood and depression among girls and young women in recent years.
“This paper helps our understanding of the link between social media use and mental health problems.”
If you or your kids need help, we advise you speak with your GP as soon as possible.
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