Social Media and Teen Mental Health

Too much social media use may increase risk of mental health problems in teens

(RxWiki News) Teens who spend a lot of time using social media may face a raised risk of mental health problems, according to a new study.

The authors of this study examined nearly 6,600 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 15 in the United States. The study participants self-reported their daily social media use and mental health problems.

Compared to teens who reported no social media use, those who spent more than three hours per day on social media websites were more likely to report internalizing problems like depression and anxiety.

Social media sites reported in this research included Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube. The study authors accounted for factors that could affect research outcomes, such as a history of mental health problems before social media use.

While the study participants' responses suggested that adolescent social media use may be tied to a higher risk of mental health problems, both the amount of social media use and mental health problems were self-reported, which could limit this research. The study authors called for additional research on this topic.

"Future research should determine whether setting limits on daily social media use, increasing media literacy, and redesigning social media platforms are effective means of reducing the burden of mental health problems in this population," they wrote in the study.

If you are concerned about your child's mental health or the amount of time they are spending online, speak with your family health care provider.

This new study was published in JAMA Psychiatry.

Various research grants funded this study. Study authors disclosed grants from at least one private company.