The contemporary study, entitled "Windows of developmental sensitivity in social media" (Windows of developmental sensitivity to social media), explores the relationship between the duration of use of social media and a person's sense of satisfaction with how his life is going.
Interestingly, the negative effects of social media are manifested at different ages based on gender. For girls, social media and life satisfaction create a negative bond between the ages of 11 and 13. For boys, it was found to appear somewhere between the ages of 14 and 15.
The international team of scientists behind the study attributes the difference to the fact that developmental changes related to brain structure and adolescence occur earlier in girls than in boys.
However, the age of 19 was found to be a common link between the sexes, as prolonged use of social media triggered negative feelings of life satisfaction in both cases.
Uncontrolled use of social media can be dangerous
The research, which involved about 80.000 volunteers between the ages of 10 and 80, was able to make a connection between using social media and a poorer sense of well-being.
The study took into account the results of the use of social media one year after the start of the evaluation, which is good due to the large scope of the research. But there is a downside, as many other factors can affect mental well-being during that time.
According to the researchers, users who spent a lot of time on social media generally had a lower sense of satisfaction with their lives.
On the other hand, those who felt dissatisfied with their lives ended up spending more time on social media using them as a mechanism to deal with their problems, as an escape from their less satisfying lives. This behavior was not associated with any particular gender.
It should be noted here that further research is needed to analyze the possible role of social media in the general sense of dissatisfaction with life between different age groups. In addition, it is still very difficult to identify the age at which social media has the worst impact on mental health, especially in adolescents.
In addition, quantifying the impact of social media as a whole has shown mixed results in previous research.
A study published in 2006, for example, found an indirect relationship between frequency of social media use and self-esteem, but researchers from the University of British Columbia report that what really affects our lives is the pattern of using social media.
On the other hand, social media can also offer some benefits, at least according to Harvard.
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