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Apr 2, 2022 6 min read

Social Media Linked to Teenage Anxiety

Wiser! Essay: A UK study of 84,000 teenagers has identified a link between heavy social media usage and teenage anxiety. They also found it affects girls between ages 11 and 13. Whereas for boys, the sensitive period is 14 and 15.


Photo by Kristina Tripkovic / Unsplash

BackStory:  The New York Times has reported a British study of 84,000 teenagers that concluded, "heavy use of social media predicted lower life-satisfaction ratings one year later."

The study is one of the largest of its kind as experts continue to search for concrete evidence of a link between social media and adolescent unhappiness.

The study found that for girls, the sensitive period was between the ages of 11 and 13. Whereas in boys it was between 14 and 15. This was explained as reflecting the biological differences in puberty between boys and girls.

Interestingly, both the boys and girls in the study hit a second period of social media sensitivity around age 19. This is believed to be more related to societal changes, such as finishing school, starting work or going to college. All major upheavals for young people going out into the world.

TalkingPoint:  So far, nobody has found a definite causal link between Social Media and adolescent harm. Simply a correlated one.

Wiser! readers already know that my own bias is firmly set against social media. I believe that it is a cause of significant harm to society, not just adolescent teenagers. So, I'm always looking for the "see, I told you so" evidence to support my opinions. It's a bias I'm always happy to disclose upfront.

Where do you stand on this? And more importantly, if you have teenagers in the house, what are you doing, if anything, about their use of social media?

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