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Social media use linked to small decrease in teens’ life satisfaction 1 year later, study finds

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Two teenage boys use their smartphones as they sit on a bench in Vail, Colorado. (Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images) "So the real question is, are these increasing and parallel due to chance, or is digitalization or the use of digital technology somehow linked to mental health and well being, especially in adolescents," Amy Orben, a lead author and researcher of the study, said during a virtual conference call on the study.

To study this, the team analyzed more than 84,000 participants between 10 to 80 years old. The analysis, published in Nature, examined the cross-sectional relationship between self-reported estimates of social media use and life satisfaction and found the ratings most significant in adolescents.

The study first found that those who used the least social media and the most social media routinely scored lower on the satisfaction of life, as opposed to those who used a median amount of social media.

According to the CDC, during June 24-30, U.S adults reported considerably elevated adverse mental health conditions associated with COVID-19."There is evidence of bidirectional links with social media use predicting small decreases in life satisfaction one year later," Orben continued.Then, researchers did an additional analysis looking at the age and gender of more than 17,400 participants between the ages of 10 and 21 years old and found "distinct developmental windows of sensitivity to social media" in adolescents.

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