Social media is a fact of life now. Practically every kid over the age of 10 has a smartphone and some form of social media account, whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or another. But now we’re just starting to understand the effects of social media on young people.
As a society, we’ve never been this connected with this technology, so there’s no research on it. While social media allows for many good things, studies are showing downsides exist–especially for young girls.
More negative effects of social media for girls
In a new study conducted by the University of Essex and UCL, researchers found a link between increased social media use and lower wellbeing. The interesting bit is that it only applied to young girls.
They discovered that when kids spent more time on social media earlier in adolescence, there was lower wellbeing later in adolescence, but only for girls. Almost 10,000 adolescents participated in the study, providing a large sample size for the research.
The corresponding author, Dr. Cara Booker, explained the results:
“Our findings suggest that it is important to monitor early interactions with social media, particularly in girls, as this could have an impact on wellbeing later in adolescence and perhaps throughout adulthood.”
While the effects of social media stronger in young girls, young girls also used it at a higher rate than boys. Wellbeing for both girls and boys did decline overtime, but the association with social media was only with girls. Researchers think the decline in boys could maybe be linked to video game use.
Why is social media causing issues?
Social media gives us all a way to connect with each other across countries and oceans; it also gives us a place to compare ourselves to others. Researchers think young minds might be especially susceptible to unhealthy comparisons on social media.
Girls already have more body image issues than boys because of television, advertisements, and movies telling them what the “perfect” body looks like. Social media is just another place for that comparison to grow and fester.
As parents, we must take it upon ourselves to limit social media more. We need to talk to our young daughters about social media and the possible downsides. If we don’t make an effort to understand the social media our daughters use, then we’ll have no way of helping them navigate it in a healthy way.
If you believe your daughter struggles with social media use or other problems, reach out to a professional. Hoping the issue will remedy itself often leads to even bigger issues.
Asheville Academy is here for your family.
Asheville Academy is a therapeutic boarding school for girls, ages 10-14. Our students commonly struggle with technology overuse, anxiety, depression, ADHD, learning differences, and other behavioral or emotional challenges. We understand that transitioning into middle school can be stressful for the whole family, but Asheville Academy is here to help.
Our licensed therapists, experienced teachers, caring staff, and expertly designed program help our students move closer to a healthier life. We use the best tactics and therapeutic methods in order to help our students thrive at Asheville Academy.
For more information about how we help at Asheville Academy, call 800-264-8709 today.