The following is excerpted from an online article posted by MedicalXpress.
Girls and boys might be more vulnerable to the negative effects of social media use at different times during their adolescence, say an international team of scientists.
In a study published in Nature Communications, the researchers show that, in UK data, girls experience a negative link between social media use and life satisfaction when they are 11-13 years old and boys when they are 14-15 years old. Increased social media use again predicts lower life satisfaction at the age of 19 years. At other times the link was not statistically significant.
A team of scientists including psychologists, neuroscientists, and modelers analyzed two UK datasets comprising some 84,000 individuals between the ages of 10 and 80 years old.
The team looked for a connection between estimated social media use and reported life satisfaction and found key periods of adolescence where social media use was associated with a decrease in life satisfaction 12 months later. In the opposite direction, the researchers also found that teens who have lower than average life satisfaction use more social media one year later.
Dr. Amy Orben a group leader at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, University of Cambridge, who led the study, said: “The link between social media use and mental wellbeing is clearly very complex. Changes within our bodies, such as brain development and puberty, and in our social circumstances appear to make us vulnerable at particular times of our lives.”