For three years, a group of employees of two UK institutes has been studying the impact of social networks on the mental health of adolescents. The research results were disappointing.
A study by researchers at the Institute of children's health at University College London and Imperial College London medical Institute showed that social networks themselves do not cause harm. The problem is that teenagers use them too often — visiting popular services more than three times a day harms the psyche, causes a constant feeling of anxiety, insomnia, and reduced physical activity. Moreover, such children are at increased risk of becoming a target of cyberbullying — artificial systematic virtual harassment of groups of people in order to suppress the mental state.
The study involved 13 thousand adolescents aged 13 to 16 years. Observations were conducted in the period from 2013 to 2015. At the beginning of the experiment, less than half of the participants used networks several times a day. By 2015, this number increased to 70%: from 43% to 69% for boys and from 51% to 75% for girls.
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and WhatsApp have become the most popular services. The impact of social networks and messengers on the psychological state of girls was twice as high as on boys. Scientists recommend parents to try to convince children not to take smartphones to the bedroom, and teenagers themselves —to control the sleep mode and not to lose touch with friends in real life, as well as to maintain physical activity. In this case, you should not worry about the harm of social networks.