One in Six Teen Girls Showing Signs of Social Media Addiction

Social media addiction associated with poorer mental well-being
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Medically Reviewed By:
Mark Arredondo, M.D.

THURSDAY, May 23, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- One in six girls in high school has possible social media addiction, which is tied to poorer mental well-being, according to a study published online May 21 in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Silja Kosola, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Helsinki, and colleagues measured smartphone and social media use objectively to evaluate its associations with mental health and well-being. The analysis included 1,164 first-year female students from 21 socioeconomically diverse high schools.

The researchers found that based on the Bergen Social Media Addiction Scale (BSMAS), 183 adolescents (16.6 percent) had possible social media addiction. BSMAS scores were significantly associated with higher anxiety (r = 0.380), poorer body image (r = −0.268), poorer health (r= −0.252), lower mood (r = −0.261), greater tiredness (r = 0.347), and greater loneliness (r = 0.226). Based on the 564 adolescents who sent screenshots of their smartphone use, average daily use was 5.8 hours, including 3.9 hours of social media. BSMAS and well-being measures were similar for participants who sent screenshots and those who did not.

"While some advocate for increased mental health services to tackle the rise in adolescent anxiety, no services will suffice unless the root causes are addressed," the authors write. "Policymakers should strengthen safety standards and urge technology companies to prioritize safety and health in the development of social media."

Abstract/Full Text

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