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Research Finally Proves How Social Media Has Put The Mental Health of Teenagers At Risk

Although it has been predicted and said before, but now there is a comprehensive research out there that shows how teenagers who use social media a lot are damaging their mental health by doing so.

The study has been a collaborative effort of the Education Policy Institute and The Prince's Trust and the results show that while the mental wellbeing and self-esteem of children belonging to the primary school were found to be similar, the difference majorly arises between boys and girls when they reach the age of 14. It has also been observed that the mental health of girls (more than boys) just go further down the hill after that.

The report stated:
  • One out of every three girls found problems in her personal appearance as soon as reaching the age of 14. This ratio is relatively high as compared to one in seven among girls who just end primary school.
  • Overall, looking at the number of young people who may be dealing with the mental illness has gone up to one in six - a significant rise from one in nine in 2017.
  • Boys also in the primary school had lower self-esteem at 14 when stood head to head with their peers
With girls’ self-esteem and well-being continues to decline during the school days, the good thing is that majority of them get to recover in their late teens. However, for boys, the level continues to drop down only with age.

Social Media and Solace

When the researchers looked into the reason behind the depression and hopelessness of the girls, it was found that heavy social media usage was inversely proportional to the negative wellbeing and self-esteem.

One of the researchers, Dr Amy Orben, a research fellow at Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge thinks that those who feel low, turn to social media for acceptance or solace. So, the platforms aren’t supposed to be a vacuum but they can work both ways as well.

The results of the research are based on 5,000 young people in England taken from the Millennium Cohort Study.

There were also focus groups involved in the study through which the researchers also examined the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on the age group in November.

Surprisingly, young people were also very much worried about the family income level, exercise, and poor maternal health which overall also contributed to the bad mental health.

The ones who did regular exercise, on the other hand, experienced positive results among both genders.

Along with all the statistics, there have also been several recommendations made by the team of experts. As per them, funding of £650m should be given to schools for the wellbeing of young people after the pandemic and to also raise the awareness regarding the mental health issues in schools so that students should have better access to the resources for support and get the much needed physical activity as well at the same time.

Every person goes through massive personality changes when moving up from childhood to adolescence. Hence through this report, Jonathan Townsend, UK chief executive of The Prince’s Trust, has rightly addressed why focusing on the mental health of teenage students is only going to become more important once the pandemic is over.

They have been hit the hardest in these times of crisis and they also need our help more than ever.


Read next: Unhealthy Eating Habits Are Growing, Thanks To Big Social Media Platforms

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