Research-reversal: Social media and adolescents – Lead to loneliness or vice versa
Research from the University of Swinburne in Melbourne, Australia, and the Victorian Public Health Agency
The constant evolution of technology and the daily, for many now, use of social media , has changed our social relationships, which seem to be growing more and more and maintained in a digital world. in young people, who are more familiar with social media.
This “digitization” of relationships is largely observedA team of researchers from Swinburne University in Melbourne, Australia, and the Victoria Public Health Agency conducted a survey of 1,520 students ages 12 to 25 focusing on questions about loneliness and Internet use, and social media.
Research confirms that loneliness – one of the major contributors to the onset of depression – has reached global proportions, but they can not claim that the effects of the digital world are responsible for increasing the percentage of people who feel lonely as the findings of the study which are made from time to time are contradictory making causation difficult. It is generally difficult to say whether social media leads to loneliness or vice versa.
Social media and antisocial behaviors in adolescents
The survey found that one in four young people said they felt lonely for three or more days in the week before the study. Between the ages of 18 and 25, one in three – 35% – said they felt lonely three or more times during the same period. The researchers also found that higher levels of loneliness increased the risk of depression by 12% and social anxiety by 10%.
Percentages of those who reported feeling lonely were lower among teens ages 12 to 17, with one in seven (13%) saying they felt alone three or more times a week. Participants in this age group were also less likely to report symptoms of depression and social anxiety than those aged 18 to 25 years.
Sleep and Social Media are not combined
The study found that those who said they felt alone were more likely to use the Internet to communicate with acquaintances and friends, while spending less time on regular social activities. This suggests that lonely people may need support with the social use of the Internet to use it in a way that strengthens existing friendships or even builds new ones.
The time spent on social media
According to US data, the time teenagers spend on apps such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Tik Tok has increased by 62.5% since 2012 with the percentage constantly increasing. Just last year, the average time teenagers spent on social media was estimated at 2.6 hours a day. Critics have argued that the more time teens spend in front of the “blue” screen, the more depression and anxiety increase at these ages.
New research from Brigham Young University in the United States concludes that time spent on social media does not directly increase stress or depression in teens, but the way they use it.
In an effort to understand adolescents’ mental health and use of social media, the researchers worked with 500 young people between the ages of 13 and 20 who completed questionnaires each year for eight years asking them about their daily time spent in school. social media on a typical day. To measure depression and anxiety, participants answered questions on different scales to indicate depressive symptoms and anxiety levels.
Adolescent participants at the age of 13 reported an average use of 31-60 minutes per day, which over the years exceeded two hours. Despite these results, at the individual level, they revealed that this increase was not associated with increased mental health issues.
Better use of social media
Many researchers point out that when lonely people go out and socialize, they are more likely to engage in self-destructive activities while showing more negative emotions through body language. This, according to experts, is done through a (often unconscious) attempt to disengage and protect against rejection.
Experts stress that it is essential for young people to identify their strengths and realize that it is important to forge strong, meaningful relationships. In the meantime, they need to learn to manage negative thoughts and understand how important humor can play in improving their social relationships and their mental health.
Better use of social media can help young people develop skills and forge healthy social relationships. A cornerstone in dealing with the depression fueled by loneliness is the realization that loneliness is not a weakness, but the expression of an innate human need to connect with other people. What is certain is that loneliness, especially when not actively treated, can have a serious negative impact on the mental health of young people and beyond.