Children increasingly using social media to escape ‘negative feelings’: Reports


The first study of its sort has found a link between economic inequality and the use of social networking sites and instant messaging services. 

Studies show that teens from disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to admit to having a social media addiction to Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and other platforms.

Michela Lenzi, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Padua in Italy and the study’s principal author, believes that inequality may have detrimental impacts on kids’ problematic social media use at the individual, school, and societal levels.

The authors claim that the activities of governments may help in minimising the dysfunctional or unusual behaviour of youth. 

“Policymakers should create initiatives to lessen disparities and restrict adolescents’ unhealthy social media usage behaviours.”

“Social media is used frequently by young people, and both the risks and the benefits to well-being have been extensively studied.”

The study’s results were published in the peer-reviewed journal Information, Communication, and Society.

Problematic social media use (PSMU) is not officially recognised as a behavioural addiction. However, it is perceived as a health issue for young people.

The problem is made worse in schools when there are social and economic gaps amongst the students.

increaseiction-like symptoms include “preoccupation with social media, dissatisfaction about a lack of time for its use, feeling bad when not using it, trying but failing to spend less time using it, neglecting other duties to use social media, regular arguments over social media, lying to parents or friends about its use, using social media to escape from negative feelings, and having a severe conflict with family over social media use.”

Any child who reported six or more items was identified as having PSMU.

The results, which were based on data collected from more than 179,000 children in 40 countries, according to the authors, show the need for new social media usage regulations that minimize the effects of poverty.

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