The researchers decided to trace the relationship between the use of digital technology by adolescents and the deterioration of their mental health. The study, for which data has been collected since 1991, involved 430,561 people from the United States and the United Kingdom.
In the work, the authors gave respondents to answer questions that involved an assessment of emotional well-being and the duration of spending time with gadgets and in social networks. During the study, scientists made several conclusions:
- the relationship between digital use and depressive disorders has become less pronounced over the past decade;
- the connection between social media and the occurrence of emotional problems in adolescents has become stronger;
- the impact of social media on mental health in 2010 and 2019 was almost the same.
Scientists note that particular cases where the use of social networks is associated with emotional problems may be caused by the fact that people with such problems spend more time on the Internet in search of peer support.
The Oxford Internet Institute says the study’s findings do not support people’s fears that technology is negatively affecting adolescents.