Too much of a good thing can be bad for you. A new study suggests teens who spend over two hours a day on social platforms like Facebook or Twitter are more likely to have mental health issues. This behavior puts them at an elevated risk of developing psychological distress that could lead to suicidal thoughts.
Ottawa Public Health researchers Hugues Sampasa-Kanyinga and Rosamund Lewis conducted the study by comparing teens’ self-reports of well-being to social networking sites. The took data from Ontario Student Drug Use & Health Survey, a survey that analyzed young people in grades 7 to 12. They discovered about 25% of the students use social networks more than two hours a day. They also suggested there is an opportunity to add more support for mental health offerings on the social media websites.
Media researchers urge public health services to tap into social media
Interactive Media Institute Brenda K. Weiderhold added, “This is where we see social networking sites, which may be a problem for some, and a solution for some. Since teenagers are on the sites, it is the perfect place for public health and service providers to reach out and connect with this vulnerable population and provide health promotion systems and supports.”
There was a similar study in 2014 when psychologists from the University of Michigan discovered people became more depressed the more they use Facebook. The study involved the researchers texting participants five times a day for two weeks. The text messages included questions regarding current feelings, worry levels and loneliness levels.
Last year’s study links depression with the perfect life illusion
Even when the team controlled the levels of loneliness, they discovered kids weren’t using Facebook just to cope with sad feelings. Another study from 2010 went even deeper as it found that images of women in magazines and on the internet pressured young girls to feel the need to lose weight.
Last year’s study attributes Facebook sadness to the perfect life illusion. It is easy for users to feel twinges of sadness when viewing photos of friends and their achievements. It was suggested that internet users consider a regular evaluation of their social media consumption.