Sleep quality is not something teens are especially interesting in. But according to a new study, ignoring a regular sleep pattern in favor of being hooked to social media 24/7 is very bad for you, and it may lead to depression and anxiety.
Social media has such an effect on the teen’s brains that it can influence their self-esteem and cause them depressive and anxious thoughts. In this plugged-in society, this is not a surprise, but the researchers led by Dr. Heather Cleland Woods and Holly Scott from the University of Glasgow in the United Kingdom have some more bad news.
As reported in the Medical News Today (MNT), the new research suggests that being intently engaged with social media and showing a high interest for these so-called communication platforms comes with a price.
These teenagers experience poorer sleep quality, higher levels of anxiety and depression, and significantly lower self-worth when compared to teenagers who were less into social media. Moreover, researchers highlighted these negative side effects come in a lot stronger for teenagers who have a habit of surfing on social media at night.
The team noted that Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and YouTube are among the most frequently used social media platforms. Results were based on data collected from 467 teenagers who had to fill out regular questionnaires about their self-esteem, sleep quality, anxiety and depression.
All the students involved – aged 11 to 17 years old – were attending the same school, and they were also interviewed about how much time they usually spent on social media, as well as the time spent on social media after already planning to go to sleep.
Even though the research is based solely on self-reports, researchers were constantly encouraging the students through step-by-step guidance to answer truthfully, which led to accurate and credible data.
Dr. Woods believes the pressure of always being connected to social media can sometimes be too much, because it’s connected to a fear of “missing out” which in turn leads to poor sleep, anxiety, and even depression.
Dr. Woods’ findings have been presented at the Developmental and Social Psychology Section Annual Conference in Manchester, UK, urging parents to monitor the way their kids use social media, talking to them about the importance of switching it off from time to time.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, there are roughly 40 million American adults who suffer from anxiety disorders, and even though treatment exists, only one in 3 seek out professional help.
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