3 Hours on Social Media Daily May Bring Teens Mental Health Risks

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Social media is becoming increasingly dominant in the lives of teenagers. Recent polls have found that 95% of teens in the U.S. have access to a smartphone and almost 75% of teens have at least one social media account. At the same time, there has been a lot of worries about the effects of social media.



The recent study published in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) Psychiatry suggests that teens who spend more than 3 hours a day on social media are more likely to have internalizing behaviors, which may be indicators of mental health problems.


About the study


The researchers collected data of 6,595 U.S. teenagers aged 13 to 17 between 2013 and 2016 from the federally funded Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study (PATH).



The study found that:


Teens using no social mediaTeens using less than 30 minutes per dayTeens using 30 minutes to 3 hours per dayTeens using 3 to 6 hours per dayTeens using more than 6 hours per day
Less than 17%32%31%12%8%

The study also found that:


Teens experiencing only internalizing problems

Teens experiencing only externalizing problems

Teens experiencing both internal and external problems

Teens experiencing no or low problems

About 9%





Internalizing behaviors and externalizing behaviors



Typical internalizing behaviors include:


—Difficulty coping with anxiety

—Directing feelings inward

—Social withdrawal


Externalizing behaviors include:

—Acting out



—Other observable behaviors


In the study, the researchers found that social media use was associated somewhat with externalizing behaviors, but it was more powerfully linked to internalizing behaviors in the long term.



What people should do


"Our study shows that teens who report high levels of time spent on social media are more likely to report internalizing problems a year later. We cannot conclude that social media causes mental health problems, but we do think that less time on social media may be better for teens' health," said lead author Kira Riehm.


Although social media may bring teens negative effects, it is able to connect introverted teens on the internet and bring them comfort. "We need to find a better way to balance the benefits of social media with possible negative health outcomes," said Riehm.


8 Answers

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the little ones regard social media as a must. poor guys. addicted so early. dying generations.
Arent parents responsible? i see frequently children led by parents who are staring at the small screens all the time. parents are childrens teachers of playing phone
Great Im those irresponsible parents. who can give up phones anyway?
I would say so! I find it quite creepy.  Everywhere I go it seems over 90% of the people are staring at a phone. Scary!
I enjoy the times I don't have a phone. If I had a normal living situation I would stick with only a land line.
I think I have the problem too. altough im adult. it will make me blink and stupid and psychopath. why did they invent laptops n cellphones n pads n internet n everything?
relax. you use it when you need it, and put it down when you dont. take a walk outside and you are fine.
My daughter get addicted to the phone games and always take my ohone. how can I stop her?
Get her a boyfriend?
staying too long online makes adults and kids psychopath. believe it or not.
Its not about what you use, its about how you think
I just cant imagine how do those who spend less than half an hour online spend their day. Im hopelesssss
It's not fair that you blame all this to social media. Those apps they are just tools.
The thing is after I finish every piece of work I need to do with my phone, I still can't put it down. I'm always trying to dig something else out of my phone.