The widely held belief that social media is hampering mental health of teens has been debunked as a myth by a new study by a team from California University. Study coauthor Candice Odgers, professor of psychological sciences, says that it is time for adults to stop blaming smartphones and gadgets for mental health issues of teenagers and explore methods of supporting them in online and offline activities. During the study researchers surveyed 2000 youngsters between age group of 10–15 years studying at North California public schools. Of these 400 volunteers were tracked over smartphones for two weeks for complaints of mental health issues and use of digital technology.
The researchers noticed that neither the use of several digital products during the day nor using it for long period lead to mental health issues. In fact the link between use of digital technology and mental health was found to be minor and positive and participants that sent more messages then others were feeling better than others that texted less. The researchers concluded that common belief about social media and smartphone usage could negatively affect mental health of adolescents had no substantial stand.
During a study conducted in 2017 to check relation between escalation in mental health issues like depression among teenagers and social media showed that there is no correlation. Though social media platform Facebook was the first one to catch people’s fancy across the world, other instant messaging applications that grew after smartphones came into existence were accused of negative psychological effect on youngsters. They however concluded that depression is likely to be a contributory factor of social media usage instead of a consequence as youngsters are vulnerable and lack of support from family and peers forces them to turn to internet for support. Researchers caution that though internet offers immense learning opportunities, excessive use is a sign of distress.