A new study has found that teens who use social media late at night may suffer from anxiety, depression, and poor sleeping patterns.
British researchers picked out a group of 467 teens with the age between 11 and 17, and asked them about their social media habits, both during the day, and during the night.
The researchers also assessed whether or not their subjects felt pressed to be available online 24/7, and performed tests where they examined the teens’ anxiety, depression, self esteem, and sleep quality.
The results showed that using social media in any moment of the day is linked to a low quality of sleep, lower self-esteem, increased levels of depression and increased levels of anxiety.
But Heather Cleland Woods, study author and field expert from the University of Glasgow (Scotland), gave a statement informing that in the case of sleep quality there was an undeniable pattern – “those who log on at night appear to be particularly affected”.
Cleland Woods said that adolescence is a time when many individuals are vulnerable to feeling depressed or anxious, and that poor sleeping patterns only increase the risk of this happening.
She went on to add that this is not the first study to link social media use to mental heath issues and overall well being. Back in 2011, a project presented at annual meeting of the American Psychological Association showed that teens who spend a lot of time on social media tend to have traits of schizophrenia or depression.
And a more recent study, from earlier this year, linked the same group of teens to a higher chance of having poor mental health.
The authors of the new study wrote that “Since adolescence is a vulnerable period for development of long-term issues, it is essential that we understand how adolescents’ social media use relates to” risk factors such as depression and poor sleeping patterns.
Cleland Woods offered some advice, saying that families can use a so called “digital sunset” to keep the negative effects of social media in check. What this means is that you turn off the computers and the smartphones as well as the blue light. You stop checking your emails and your social media accounts, and “allow yourself time to finish your day”.
She stressed that sleep is more important than answering every post and message. Social media in and of its own is not a bad thing, people just need to be careful when and how they use it.
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