Greater social media use is associated with depression among #teenagers due to greater online harassment, poor self-esteem, greater body dissatisfaction and poor sleep quality, with #girls disproportionately affected compared to boys, UK researchers have discovered.
This important new research confirms that we need to increase awareness amongst parents, schools and policy makers about the role of social media in mental health issues, particularly taking into account the increased risks for girls.
Manipulated images of idealised beauty affect individuals’ perception of their body image and self-esteem. Online harassment and the sharing of materials can be potentially damaging to reputations and relationships.
Clinical, educational and family settings are all potential points of contact where young people could be encouraged and supported to reflect not only on their social media use. At home, families may want to reflect on when and where it’s ok to be on social media and agree limits for time spent online. Curfews for use and the overnight removal of mobile devices from bedrooms might also be something to consider.