The impact of social media platforms on mental health in adolescents
After analysing 15 different studies, Oxford University researchers found that young people’s online viewing of self-harm images increases the likelihood of harming themselves. While researchers acknowledge that viewing such content has some protective effect, it ultimately does more harm than good, including the escalation of self-harm and the “development of a self-harm identity”.
According to a study by the American Psychological Association (APA), teenagers can feel better about themselves by limiting the use of social media platforms. Facebook’s internal research has shown that using its platforms is associated with anxiety, depression and body perception issues in young people. Last year in the US, 13- to 18-year-olds used telecoms devices daily for an average of 8 h 39 min. This was at the expense of face-to-face meetings, outdoor activities, sports and sleep.
According to some researchers, the growing popularity of smartphones, the Internet and social media apps is changing how the teenage brain responds to the world, resulting in an increase in eating disorders, depression and anxiety. In the US alone, 147 product liability lawsuits have been filed against the largest social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat and YouTube. In the UK, the government is considering sanctions for social media executives who fail to protect children’s safety.