A new study from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) found that despite children spending more time on social media and increasing cases of depression among young people, two.
“The prevalence of anxiety and depression is on the rise. So is social media use. So many believe there must be a correlation,” said NTNU Professor Sirie Steinbeck. Stated.
Initial safety study in Trondheim
In the Trondheim Early Safety Research research project, experts followed 800 children for six years to explore the correlation between social media use and the development of symptoms of mental illness.
“We collected data every other year from the year the children were 10 to the year they turned 16,” Steinbeck said.
“This allowed us to follow children during the transition from childhood to adolescence. Symptoms of anxiety and depression were identified through diagnostic interviews with both children and their parents. ”
No correlation found
Experts determined that increased social media usage did not increase symptoms of anxiety or depression. Conversely, those with increased anxiety and depression symptoms did not change their social media habits over time.
The findings were the same regardless of gender and whether children published their own social media pages or simply liked and commented on other people’s posts.
In recent years, many studies have explored potential relationships between children’s mental health and social media use. The results are mixed.
While some experts have found that social media use promotes mental health, others have found evidence that social media has a negative impact. But most of these correlations are weak, Steinbeck said.
“Mental health is often defined broadly in research, covering everything from self-esteem to depression. Data is often collected using questionnaires. The focus is often on frequency – how much time young people spend on social media,” Steinsbeck explained.
“By following the same subjects over years, recording symptoms of mental illness through in-depth interviews, and examining different types of social media use, our study explored more closely and It has allowed us to provide a more nuanced picture of mental illness. Correlations.”
In a previous study, the same research group found that about 5 percent of Norwegian youth experience depression, and its prevalence is lower in children.
One in 10 children meets the criteria for an anxiety disorder at least once between the ages of 4 and 14, researchers say.
“Young people’s use of social media is a subject that often provokes strong emotions and has generated a lot of concern among both parents and professionals,” Steinsbeck said.
“We want to provide more knowledge about how social media affects young people’s development and ability to function in society. Who is particularly vulnerable? Who benefits from social media? Does it matter how you use social media?”
Steinsbeck and his colleagues have previously found that girls who like or comment on others’ posts deteriorate their body image over time, but this was not the case for boys. Posting on their social media accounts had no effect on self-esteem in boys or girls.
“Our research shows that Kali and Knut are more likely to develop symptoms of anxiety and depression when they like or post on Instagram or Snapchat,” Steins said. Mr Beck said.
“But that doesn’t mean they don’t have negative experiences on social media or feel addicted or alienated. Some may be particularly vulnerable and need to be identified. there is.”
“Social media provides a place of community and belonging, making it easy to stay in touch with friends and family. Social media provides a platform for social support and helps keep young people with few friends from loneliness.” said Steinbeck.
The Trondheim Early Secure Study has collected data from thousands of children and their parents each year since subjects were four years old. The subject is now 20 years old and the ninth round of data collection will take place this fall.
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