Rising concerns about teens using social media
ELMIRA, N.Y. (WENY) -- Concerns about teens using social media continues to rise. In April, 2023 the U.S. Senate proposed legislation that would bar kids under the age of 13 from using social media.
“We do know teenagers are more likely to engage in certain types of media platforms things like TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube,” said Adam Hoffman, assistant professor of Psychology at Cornell University.
Nearly 57 percent of the world's population uses social media. The most popular social media sites in 2023 based on their monthly active users include Facebook at just under three billion, YouTube at 2.2 billion people, and WhatsApp and Instagram, both at 2 billion.
“Research has shown it can impact (teen's) mental health and well-being. Negatively, right? So, it can have impacts on typically what we see as mood disorders. Things like depression and anxiety. But then also, their general circumstance of self and well-being,” said Hoffman.
A 2016 publication found editing Instagram posts resulted in lowering self-confidence in an adolescent girl's body image. Additionally, a 2020 study showed using social media is connected to a larger risk for an eating disorder.
“Making social comparisons is so much easier than what it use to be. Before you might see those in passing on a magazine stand or just on a TV, but again it would just be a fleeting image that would come and go,” said Hoffman.
In a world where these apps are on your phone, and accessible at any time, it can become problematic for people, especially teens, who struggle to set limits for themselves. The negative effects of social media tend to present even stronger in girls than boys.
“In the example of gendered effects in social media we do see that in general girls do have a more pronounced effects, negative effects, social media use on their mental health and well-being compared to boys,” said Hoffman.
The University of Oxford noted a negative link for girls between the ages of 11 to 13 versus boys at aged 14 to 19. Plus, the research shared that social media use might be linked to developmental changes, including the onset of puberty.