Scientists have found that social networks affect the well-being of adolescents in different ways

(ORDO NEWS) — It turned out that social networks affect the psychological well-being of adolescents depending on their age and gender.

Over the past decades, social media has revolutionized our leisure time, leading to questions about its negative impact, especially on children. There are many studies devoted to this, but most of them have conflicting results.

A team of scientists, including psychologists and neuroscientists from the University of Cambridge and Oxford (UK), decided to study this topic with an impressive number of participants. They presented their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

The volunteers were 84,011 people aged 10 to 80 from two UK datasets collected over several years. They also included information on 17,709 participants aged 10 to 21.

The task of the researchers was to study the negative effects that social networks can have in the time interval: how they affected young people who had matured, who were teenagers a few years ago.

The team investigated the relationship between social media use and participants’ reports of life satisfaction. It turned out that this indicator decreases in girls aged 12 to 14 years if they used social networks a year before (from 11 to 13 years).

Meanwhile, for boys, the same thing happens between the ages of 15 and 16 (just the same if they “sat” on social networks between the ages of 14 and 15). Such differences may be due to the fact that maturation in both sexes, as is known, does not occur simultaneously. In boys, changes in brain structure occur later.

Interestingly, at the age of 20, boys and girls again experience a peak of dissatisfaction with life, which, according to scientists, among other things, also correlates with the use of social networks at 19 years old.

The researchers believe that this process can be “triggered” by various events, such as leaving home and starting a career.

However, scientists say the link between social media use and mental well-being is complex and hard to pinpoint. Perhaps this is simply due to the special vulnerability of our brain during puberty .

“It is not possible to pinpoint the processes underlying this vulnerability. Adolescence is a time of cognitive, biological and social changes intertwined.

This makes it difficult to separate one factor from another, ”said Sarah-Jane Blakemore, professor of psychology and cognitive neuroscience, from the University of Cambridge, one of the authors of the study.

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