Impact of Social Media on Mental Health in Adolescents
October 1, 2019   

The next time you are in a public place—a shopping plaza, your local coffee shop, the dog park, the movie theatre, etc.—you will likely see an adolescent on their smart phone; very often these adolescents will be browsing or posting to social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc) (Figure 1). Although there are many potential advantages to engaging in social media, questions remain regarding potential consequences of social media use on mental health in adolescents (Figure 2). In this study, Riehm and colleagues examined that question in a cohort of 6,595 adolescents and found that social media use of 30 minutes or more per day was associated with increased internalizing problems (depression and anxiety) as well as comorbid internalizing and externalizing (bullying and attentional) problems, with increased risk proportionate to increased duration of social media use. Although further study is warranted, these data may help to inform parents regarding the limitation of social media use by their adolescent children.

Figure 1. Social Media Use Among Adolescents

Figure 2. Potential Negative Impacts of Social Media Use By Adolescents


Riehm KE et al. JAMA Psychiatry 2019; Epub ahead of print. Abstract

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