Young people should limit time spent on social media

Depressed kid

​Survey indicates young people may feel more depressed when they access social media 

17th May 2017 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

A YMCA group is advising young people to limit their time on social media when feeling unhappy, following new research. 

Research published by the young people’s charity found that the use of social media often amplifies the user’s current mood. 

The study by Central YMCA measured each person’s (aged 16–65) overall sense of wellbeing and then asked them to assess the impact of different factors on how they were feeling. 35% of people with low wellbeing scores said that using social media made them feel worse (compared to 18% of people with average wellbeing scores). 

Conversely, 36% of people with high wellbeing scores, reported feeling happier after spending time on social media (compared to 20% of people with average wellbeing scores). 

These findings support a recent Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Pisa survey which revealed that British students who spent more than six hours online per day had a weaker sense of belonging, felt lonelier and were more likely to be bullied. 

Commenting on the findings, Rosi Prescott, chief executive at Central YMCA, said: “Our study found that many young people (those 24 years or younger) use social media as a way to improve their mood and sense of personal wellbeing, a much higher proportion than older groups. 

“However, while this may be the effect when they are already feeling positive, the research found that using social media when in a low mood often exaggerates these negative feelings. 

“The impact of social media on our personal sense of wellbeing is clearly complex, but young people should be aware that there are better strategies to help lift their spirits when feeling low. 

“These are, according to the data, involve undertaking physical activity or spending time with good friends or family.  Mental stimulation, is also shown to improve feelings of wellbeing, such as completing a difficult task or learning something new.”