Teens’ addiction to social networks linked to family social status

(ORDO NEWS) — An international study involving 179,000 teenagers from forty-three countries found that children from families with lower social status form a greater dependence on social networks.

The work of scientists from the universities of Padua, Turin (Italy), McGill (Canada), Utrecht (Netherlands) involved 179,049 adolescents aged 11, 13 and 15 from 43 countries, including most of Europe and Canada.

Children took questionnaires to determine the dependence on social networks. The questionnaires were completed anonymously under the supervision of a classroom teacher or a trained interviewer.

Among the criteria used by the experts were: the child’s poor health if he does not use social networks, the presence of unsuccessful attempts to spend less time viewing them and the use of social networks to get rid of negative feelings.

To calculate the scale of deprivation, an index based on the financial situation of the family or family activities was used. Among the items to determine it was the number of bathrooms in the house and family vacations abroad in the past year.

In addition, the authors measured the well-being of the adolescent’s country of residence, the social support of each child’s family, and the degree of assistance provided by relatives or friends.

The results showed that adolescents raised in families with lower social status, low income and low social support were more likely to report addiction to social networks.

“Our findings point to the potentially harmful effects of social inequalities at the individual, school and state levels on adolescent social media use problems.

Politicians should develop measures to reduce these inequalities in order to limit maladaptive social media usage patterns among teenagers,” said study lead author Michela Lenzi from the University of Padua.

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