A study in the United Kingdom — purportedly larger than the ones that preceded it — dispels the notion that teenagers’ life satisfaction is somehow linked to their use of social media.
The BBC reports that the study found that “99.75% of a person’s life satisfaction has nothing to do with their use of social media,” according to Andrew Przybylski of the Oxford Internet Institute at the University of Oxford.
The study lasted eight years and involved thousands of kids who were asked about the amount of time they spent on social media each day and how satisfied they were with aspects of their life.
Less than half the effects were statistically significant.
“Parents shouldn’t worry about time on social media – thinking about it that way is wrong,” Prof. Przybylski said.
“We are fixated on time – but we need to retire this notion of screen time.
“The results are not showing evidence for great concern.”
The researchers said it was now important to identify young people at greater risk from certain effects of social media, and find out other factors that were having an impact on their wellbeing.
They plan to meet social media companies soon to discuss how they can work together to learn more about how people use apps – not just the time spent on them.
The researchers suggest if the industry would release usage data, they could get an even clearer picture of social media’s effect on teens.