The study also found that 12 per cent of light social media users and 38 per cent of heavy social media users (more than five hours a day) showed signs of having more severe depression.
The study is the first of its kind and is based on data from nearly 11,000 14-year-olds who are taking part in the Millennium Cohort Study, a large-scale research project looking into the lives of children.
Chennai: Long-term use of social media is associated with depressive symptoms, says a recent study by Lancet. The study found that two-fifths of the girls became the victims of online harassment or cyber-bullying compared to one-quarter of boys. They found that on average, girls had higher depressive symptom scores compared with boys. Only 4% of girls reported not using social media compared to 10% of boys. "My best bet would be the types of things that girls and boys do online", stated Kelly to CNN. The participants provided information on their social media habits, sleep patterns, body image, and experience of online harassment.
Disrupted sleep was accounted for by 40 percent of teenage girls contrasted and 28 percent of young men.
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"These findings are highly relevant to current policy development on guidelines for the safe use of social media and calls on industry to more tightly regulate hours of social media use for young people", said Kelly.
The study, funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council, was published online in the journal EClinicalMedicine on Friday.
"Inevitably there is the chicken and egg question, as to whether more dissatisfied children, who to begin with are less pleased with their body shape and have fewer friends then spend more time on social media". The findings can not prove that frequent social media use caused depressive symptoms, or vice versa. These girls are also unhappy with their appearances. These asked about their social media use and assessed their mental health.
"With an impact of social media on social life, the incidence of anxiety and depression is increasing among the adolescents". This really affected me when I was struggling with my mental health and would constantly scroll through Facebook and Instagram. The participants had to agree or disagree to statements such as, "I felt miserable or unhappy", "I felt so exhausted I just sat around and did nothing" and "I didn't enjoy anything at all". "Why was I feeling so different to everyone else?" In fact, it made me feel like I was doing something wrong.
"I think it's important for young people to look up from their phones and focus more on the world around them, and the fantastic connections that they can make there".