This is the influence of social media on the mental health of young people

Almost all the teenagers sit on social media, according to figures from the Central Bureau for Statistics (CBS). wondering what the effect of social media on the mental health of young people. This is what we so far know.

We present the matter to associate professor of general social sciences, Regina van den Eijnden, and Reinout Wiers, professor of ontwikkelingspsychopathologie.

Because little is known about the effects of social media on the health of young people, Van den Eijnden, together with colleagues in 2015 a large-scale and long-term study, launched under the name Digital Youth.

This project examines annually the impact of the socialemediagebruik among adolescents from twelve to seventeen years. “On the basis of these results, we can now about the impact on mental health a few sensible things to say.”

Under social media attack, according to Van den Eijnden, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest. “Young people who indicate to get addicted to social media, experienced a loss of control over the use of these platforms on their phones.”

Figures socialemediagebruik and addiction

  • In 2015 was 4 percent of 18 – to 25-year-olds five to ten hours per day active on social media, two years later, that proportion more than doubled to 9 percent.
  • In 2015, stated 19 per cent of young people addicted to social media, compared with 29 percent in 2017.
  • 7.4% of pupils in secondary education is actually in the category of ‘problematic socialemediagebruik’

Source: CBS and SCP

This does a lot of online with sleep

How much convenience, pleasure, and contact social media may also be able to offer, there is also more and more is known about the dark side. The greatest fears of parents around social media are undermining the self-esteem, the amount of cognitive disadvantage and lack of sleep, research shows.

Those fears are not entirely unjustified, says Van den Eijnden. First of all, prove social media is indeed a significant influence on the sleep of young people. The social psychologist has just finalized a research, the results of which will be published soon.

Also the GOVERNMENT did a recent study that is in line with the findings of the experts.

See also:
RIVM: Dutch young people sleep worse by screen uses in evening

“How much a young person per day on social media, seems to have no influence on the quality of sleep, but at the time that the person goes to sleep. Symptoms of a socialemediaverslaving seem, however, to a decrease in the quality of sleep. Young people who have these symptoms, are more difficult to sleep, sleep worse, and are meanwhile longer wake up.”

“Young people with symptoms fall harder in sleep, sleep worse and are longer awake.”
Regina van den Eijnden, associate professor

A reduced sleep in adolescents may lead to mental symptoms as depression, and a worse ability to concentrate, reports the Trimbos-institute.

Tilburg University: ‘Social media will not lead to sleep problems’

With her research refutes Van den Eijnden is partially a research of Tilburg University, which earlier this year was published and wide media attention. One of the conclusions of this research: the use of social media does not lead to sleep problems, and psychological problems in the short or longer term.

That conclusion is, according to Van den Eijnden in itself is not strange. “In this research looked at the intensity of the use, but not to the symptoms of socialemediaverslaving.” In addition, the research focused not on young people, but people between the ages of 16 and 70 years.

“Not all young people who are on social media sit, experiencing negative effects”
Regina van den Eijnden, associate professor

She continues: “It is logical that not everyone on social media is negative effects experience. Some teens can handle it well. But you look in addition, or they are addicted to feel, or compulsive behavior, then you see indeed has negative effects on mental health.”

Social media lead to lower school grades

The difference is not only visible in the quality of sleep and thus indirectly the mental health. Social media also have a direct influence on the mental health of young people.

As a child in the class equally Instagram checks or Snapchat open, that is, according to Van den Eijnden influence on school performance. “Both the intensity of use as the ‘verslavingssymptomen’ predict a decrease in school grades.”

‘Addict’ younger is less satisfied with own life

“You look at the symptoms of socialemediaverslaving, then we also see a clear negative effect on the satisfaction with the own life, or the psychological well-being. These include self-image and feel at home in your surroundings.”

However, the satisfaction with the own life no matter how much someone uses social media. “That also explains the conclusion of Tilburg University”, explains Van den Eijnden.

But through social media, young people also get in touch with classmates, friends and family. “That is very positive. If there is no verslavingssymptomen, we know that the youth is through the use of social media even slightly happier feel about friendships.”

Socialemediaverslaving does not yet exist in psychiatry

Although the apps have a unhealthy effect on the mental health of young people, social media – to the frustration of some experts, it appears from an article of the AD – not recognised as an addiction in the psychiatric manual. “The online platforms are relatively new, so the findings are limited,” explains professor ontwikkelingspsychopathologie Wiers.

“There has been much discussion about the question whether there is also addictions are not a means be bound. Until now, that is only acknowledged for gambling, which is somewhat similar reactions in the brain are found.”

‘The problem is too big to wait for recognition’

That means, according to him, not that you don’t need to adjust with these online platforms. “The psychiatric world recognizes indeed the dangers, and does not exclude that problematic use of internet and social media ever to be recognized as addiction.”

The two experts find it therefore not surprising that young people are less online. Van den Eijnden: “Compulsive socialemediagebruik is increasing rapidly. We are waiting for recognition – what is twenty years – a whole generation may not be shielded against the adverse consequences. That is a missed opportunity.”


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