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A British study found that adolescents’ mental health is affected by the heavy use of social media.
Research from the Institute for Educational Policy and the Prince (Charles) Foundation said that well-being and self-esteem are the same for all children of primary school age.
The study found that the well-being of boys and girls is affected by the age of 14, but that the mental health of girls declines even more after that.
The study said that lack of exercise is another factor that contributes to this, and the Corona epidemic has exacerbated the impact of this factor.
According to the study:
- One in three girls were unhappy with their personal appearance at the age of 14, compared to one in seven girls at the end of primary school.
- The number of young adults with potential mental illness has risen to one in six, compared to one in nine in 2017.
- Boys in the lower group in elementary school had lower self-esteem at age 14 than their peers.
The well-being of both sexes declined during adolescence, and girls suffered an even greater decline, the study said.
However, the study acknowledged that girls’ self-esteem and well-being stabilized as they transition into their late teens, while for boys it continued to decline.
Depression and despair
Heavy use of social media has been associated with negative self-esteem and negative well-being, regardless of young people’s mental state, with an increase in the number of girls experiencing feelings of depression and hopelessness.
“Those who feel bad may turn to social media, for the sake of comfort or (integration into) society,” said Dr. Amy Orben, research fellow at Cambridge University’s Emmanuel College, of the research.
“It’s not a vacuum, it works both ways.” The research used data about 5,000 young people in England, born in 2000 and 2001.
The study found that family income, exercise and poor maternal health also contributed to the nature of the mental state of young people.
The study said that regular exercise had a positive effect on both sexes.
She added that “participation in various activities and sports will decrease significantly due to school closures and general closures, which may negatively affect mental health and well-being.”
It has also made several recommendations, including a £ 650m package for schools to finance post-pandemic welfare and increasing mental health teaching in schools.
She added that young people must also have better access to resources, to support mental health and physical activity.