Study links teen social media use to low life satisfaction levels

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Wednesday 30th March 2022

Study links teen social media use to low life satisfaction levels

A new study suggests that teenagers who use social media are likely to have lower levels of life satisfaction. 

Researchers found that girls aged 11-13, boys aged 14-15 and 19-year-olds of both sexes were likely to experience poor wellbeing. The study has been published in Nature Communications.

Scientists believe that responses within specific age groups are linked to hormonal and social changes and the development of the brain at different stages of life. Some age groups may be more vulnerable to the impact of social media due to the dramatic changes that take place during adolescence. 

The study was conducted by researchers from Cambridge and Oxford universities and the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour. They believe that further research in this field is required to gather more information about the relationship between social media use in teenagers and life satisfaction. They have encouraged social media companies to share more data to facilitate future research projects. 

Experts claim that social media can have incredible benefits for young people, including the ability to bring people together when they can’t actually see friends and family face-to-face.

However, there can also be downsides. Dr Amy Orben, lead researcher, explained that the connection between social media use and mental health and wellbeing was “very complex.” Studies have thrown up mixed results in the past. This latest piece of research indicates that children are more vulnerable at certain stages of life due to hormonal changes and brain development. The findings of the study will enable the team to focus on the periods where teens are most “at risk” and use them as a “springboard to explore some really interesting questions.”

During the study, the team analysed data from a household survey, which involved more than 72,000 participants. Those polled were asked to answer questions about how satisfied they were with their lives, how much time they spent on social media and how much time they spent communicating with others online. The participants were surveyed seven times between 2011 and 2018.