A recent study conducted by Ottawa Public Health found that students who regularly used social media for at least two hours per day were more likely to suffer from poor mental health.
The study was based on 753 students in grades 7-12, with the average age of the students at 14.1 years. It is important to note that 54.5% of students reported using social media for less than two hours per day, and 20.5% of students reported no social media usage. However, the 25.2% of students who reported social media usage of at least two hours per day were found to be more likely to suffer from poor self-rating of mental health, high levels of psychological distress, and suicidal thoughts.
I think the only way that social media use, and subsequent mental health deterioration amongst adolescents, can be prevented is through parenting choices. If a parent stresses the importance of being active and not spending a ton of time on social media to their adolescent children, that could make all the difference for those kids.
I think after-school activities and clubs are an effective way of preventing kids from becoming addicted to social media. If a kid doesn’t have anything to do after school, there’s a strong likelihood they will have the opportunity to spend the rest of their day on social media.
I don’t think that kids should be spending much time on social media, but again, it is up to parents to enforce their own rules about social media to their children. With this study proving that more social media for adolescents can lead to mental health problems, I think it is imperative that parents pay close attention to what their children are doing, and encourage them to go outside and play rather than stay in and be on their cell phones or other devices.