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Study explores adolescents at risk of depression from social media use

New Delhi, June 26, 2024
Social media use does not raise the risk of depression in all adolescents, revealed a study on Wednesday which found parental hostility and peer bullying as major risk factors driving teenagers to mental health conditions.

Early social media use has previously been linked with an increased risk of depression among teenagers and young adults.

The findings, published in the Journal of Adolescence, suggest that social media use does not impact all adolescents in the same way.

Researchers from Brigham Young University in the US found certain factors may make social media more risky or protective regarding depression.

These include greater parental hostility, peer bullying, anxiety, reactivity to stressors, and lower parental media monitoring.

“If the teenager is already in a vulnerable position (being bullied or having hostile parents or parents who don’t monitor their teenager’s media), then social media is much more likely to be harmful,” said corresponding author W. Justin Dyer, from the varsity.

Dyer said, “This is especially true if there is more than 3 hours of use a day.”

On the contrary, warm and supportive friends and parents and “moderate amounts of social media use (less than 3 hours a day) may be a good thing.”

They stressed individualised approaches to determine the benefits and harms of social media on young people’s mental health.

Dyer noted that adolescents can greatly benefit if parents guide them “as they navigate social media. That guidance may make all the difference.”

The study is based on 488 adolescents living in the US who were surveyed once a year for 8 years (beginning in 2010 when the average age for participants was 13 years old).(Agency)

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