Social Media Severely Damages Adolescents’ Health. 1/2

Abstract

Part 1 aims to summarize medical and psychological research on the impact of social media (SM) on the health of a typical adolescent user. The title reflects the conclusion. Part 2 demonstrates suppression of this research.

In 2011, the American Academy of Pediatrics warned parents and doctors of the risks and harms of SM to adolescents. Thereafter, research has proven beyond significant doubt that the typical use of SM is indeed harmful to adolescents’ health, especially mental health.

Girls are more vulnerable to SM impact than boys. The suicide rate among 12- to 14-year-old girls increased three times from 2007 to 2015 (not necessarily because of SM). An overwhelming body of medical and psychological research shows a correlation between the use of SM by teenage girls (ages 13–18) and symptoms of mental illness. Beyond correlation, significant research demonstrates causation – the use of SM causes mental illness. This causation is also explained theoretically. The author searched but could not find valid research showing the health benefits or even absence of harm of SM for a typical adolescent user.

Intro

Part 1 introduces the science of Social Media Damaging Adolescents’ Health (SMDAH). Part 2, “Suppression of Information and Research of Social Media Damage to Adolescents’ Health” [link], is the main one, and you can go straight to it if you are familiar with SMDAH.

Here, the term social media (SM) refers to big (anti-) social networks that have been used in the last 10 years—Facebook, Instagram (owned by Facebook), Twitter, YouTube, and few others—rather than an abstract notion. Adolescents spend most of their SM time on smartphones, and most of their smartphone time is spent on SM, so use of SM and use of smartphones can be considered almost interchangeable. Apple is responsible for more than half of SM consumption by adolescents. Different social networks have different impacts. Facebook is the most researched SM, although a fraction of adolescents using it is decreasing.

Of course, the effects of SM on personal health depend on the person, on what SM network is used, how it is used, amount of use, and random factors. Almost any product, service, or activity might be harmful if used excessively or improperly. Unfortunately, SM tends to harm majority of adolescent users, or a typical adolescent SM user. Here, a typical user is defined as a user in the middle of the 68th percentile (67.5%) of amount of SM exposure, which corresponds to a median one in the range 40%–95%. This range comprises most users, and the conclusion is derived from the reviewed papers. The excluded top 5% comprises persons afflicted with Facebook Addiction Disorder (FAD), which is a separate subject, not included in most research papers.

The selected definition of a typical user has another justification. Revenues and valuation that an SM company derives from a user increase with exposure/consumption, like in the tobacco. I guesstimate that revenues from the typical user are close to the average revenues per user, and the exposure to SM by the typical user is close to the average exposure by all users.

Looking at a typical user’s SM exposure patterns allows to overcome weasel wording of the Big Tech advocates, who say some types of exposure are harmful, and some are beneficial. There is an analogy to tobacco — selling cigarettes is profitable, smoking one cigarette a day is probably harmless, but a typical use — smoking a pack a day — causes lung cancer.

The theoretical explanations of the negative influence of SM include such factors as self-comparison with others’ idealized image, cyberbullying, reduced time for face-to-face communication, and reduced physical exercise, among others.

The following are quotes from some of the reviewed papers.

The Science

The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and Families

Clinical Report, reflecting the opinion of the American Academy of Psychiatrics in 2011. Available at http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/127/4/800.

(Gwenn Schurgin O’Keeffe , Kathleen Clarke-Pearson and Council on Communications and Media 2011):

From the Abstract:

“… it is important that parents become aware of the nature of social media sites, given that not all of them are healthy environments for children and adolescents. Pediatricians are in a unique position to help families understand these sites and to encourage healthy use and urge parents to monitor for potential problems with cyberbullying, “Facebook depression,” sexting, and exposure to inappropriate content.”

From the body:

 “Because of their limited capacity for self-regulation and susceptibility to peer pressure, children and adolescents are at some risk as they navigate and experiment with social media. Recent research indicates that there are frequent online expressions of offline behaviors, such as bullying, clique-forming, and sexual experimentation, that have introduced problems such as cyberbullying, privacy issues, and “sexting.” Other problems that merit awareness include Internet addiction and concurrent sleep deprivation.”

Facebook Depression

Researchers have proposed a new phenomenon called “Facebook depression,” defined as depression that develops when preteens and teens spend a great deal of time on social media sites, such as Facebook, and then begin to exhibit classic symptoms of depression. … As with offline depression, preadolescents and adolescents who suffer from Facebook depression are at risk for social isolation and sometimes turn to risky Internet sites and blogs for “help” that may promote substance abuse, unsafe sexual practices, or aggressive or self-destructive behaviors.

NB: All mentions of the Facebook depression disappear in the 2016 version of the AAP opinion.

Dr. Jean Twenge

Dr. Jean Twenge is probably the most prominent researcher and writer on the subject. She is also the famous author of the book Generation Me about millennials.

iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy–and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood–and What That Means for the Rest of Us

by Jean Twenge (August 2017) is a highly recommended book, easy reading with a lot of statistics.

“Jean M. Twenge, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at San Diego State University, is the author of more than a hundred scientific publications and two books based on her research.”

(Jean Twenge, et al. 2017):

 “Adolescents who spent more time on new media (including social media and electronic devices such as smartphones) were more likely to report mental health issues, and adolescents who spent more time on nonscreen activities (in-person social interaction, sports/exercise, homework, print media, and attending religious services) were less likely.”

 Jean Twenge, website FAQ:

What about correlation vs. causation – do we know that screen time actually causes unhappiness or depression?

The original research I present in iGen finds that teens who spend more time on screens are less happy and more depressed (in a large, nationally representative sample of U.S. teens). For example, 8th graders who spend 10 or more hours a week on social media sites are 56% more likely to be unhappy than those who spend less time. The link holds when gender, race, and socioeconomic status is taken into account. But those analyses are correlational, so it is possible that unhappy or depressed teens spend more time on screens.

However, three other studies using different research designs have come close to ruling out that possibility. Two longitudinal studies (here https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28093386 and here http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0069841) find that social media use leads to unhappiness, but unhappiness does not lead to social media use. A third study is a true experiment, meaning it can show causation. People were randomly assigned to either give up Facebook for a week or continue their normal Facebook use. Those who gave up Facebook ended the week happier, less depressed, and less lonely. (http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/cyber.2016.0259?journalCode=cyber)

Also: Depression causing social media use doesn’t explain why depression would increase so suddenly after 2011-12. In that model, something else would have to cause teen depression to rise so sharply, which would then lead to more smartphone and social media use. It seems much more likely that smartphone and social media use increased, and depression and unhappiness followed.”

“The More You Use Facebook, the Worse You Feel”

A recent review article.

A New, More Rigorous Study Confirms: The More You Use Facebook, the Worse You Feel

Holly Shakya, Nicholas Christakis; Harvard Business Review, April 10, 2017

The article is based on (Holly Shakya and Nicholas Christakis 2017), published on February 1, 2017:

“Overall, our results showed that, while real-world social networks were positively associated with overall well-being, the use of Facebook was negatively associated with overall well-being. These results were particularly strong for mental health; most measures of Facebook use in one year predicted a decrease in mental health in a later year.”

“Prior research has shown that the use of social media may detract from face-to-face relationships, reduce investment in meaningful activities, increase sedentary behavior by encouraging more screen time, lead to internet addiction, and erode self-esteem through unfavorable social comparison. Self-comparison can be a strong influence on human behavior, and because people tend to display the most positive aspects of their lives on social media, it is possible for an individual to believe that their own life compares negatively to what they see presented by others.”

I divide other papers based on whether they were published before and after the date of the current AAP opinion.

Published by November 1, 2016

(Cecilie Schou Andreassen, et al. 2012) is a highly cited paper. Facebook Addiction Disorder (FAD) is typically defined as addiction to any social network, not only Facebook. It is not listed in DSM-5. FAD doesn’t play a significant role in the social media health damage statistics.

“The Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale (BFAS), initially a pool of 18 items, three reflecting each of the six core elements of addiction (salience, mood modification, tolerance, withdrawal, conflict, and relapse), was constructed and administered to 423 students together with several other standardized self-report … The scores converged with scores for other scales of Facebook activity.”

Other papers are not related to FAD.

 

(Ethan Kross, et al. 2013):

“These analyses indicated that Facebook use predicts declines in the two components of subjective well-being: how people feel moment to moment and how satisfied they are with their lives.”

 

(Christina Sagioglou and Tobias Greitemeyer 2014); Highlights:

“Facebook activity negatively correlates with mood.

Facebook use but not Internet browsing dampens mood.

A feeling of having wasted time accounts for the effect of Facebook activity on mood.

People commit a forecasting error by expecting to feel better after Facebook use.”

 

(Morten Tromholt 2016):

The title tells all: “Quitting Facebook Leads to Higher Levels of Well-Being.”

 

(Heather Cleland Woods and Holly Scott 2016); from the Highlights:

“Social media use associated with poor sleep, anxiety, depression and low self-esteem.

Poor sleep most strongly associated with nighttime-specific social media use.

Anxiety and depression most strongly associated with emotional investment in sites.”

 

(Mai-Ly Steers 2016)—a review paper:

“‘Facebook depression’ findings have been mixed. One reason for the conflicting results may be Facebook’s complex relationship with relatedness needs and depressive symptoms. Thus, this article reviewed the existing literature to better elucidate these associations. Facebook use appears to be motivated by both connection and disconnection (and vice versa), which in turn, has implications for users’ mental health.”

 

(Liuyi Lin, et al. 2016):

 “SM use was significantly associated with increased depression. Given the proliferation of SM, identifying the mechanisms and direction of this association is critical for informing interventions that address SM use and depression.”

“All associations between independent variables and depression had strong, linear, dose–response trends. Results were robust to all sensitivity analyses.”

 

Published after November 1, 2016

(Anna Vannucci and Kaitlin Flannery 2017); from the Highlights:

“More time spent using social media was associated with greater symptoms of dispositional anxiety.”

“More social media use was linked to greater odds of having an anxiety disorder.”

 

(Brian Primack , Ariel Shensa, et al. 2017):

“We found a linear association between the number of platforms used and depression.”

“We found a linear association between the number of platforms used and anxiety.”

“While increased time spent on social media (TSSM) has been associated with depression and anxiety, the independent role of using multiple social media (SM) platforms is unclear.”

 

(Brian Primack , Meghan Bisbey, et al. 2018):

“Negative experiences online may have higher potency than positive ones because of negativity bias.”

 

Finally, I have surveyed “population likely to be better informed on the subject” about their opinion regarding SM impacts on adolescents (Leo Goldstein 2018). The result matches that of real research: 94% respondents said that SM is harmful or very harmful to adolescents’ health, and two-thirds of them said it is very harmful.

 

 Discussion

Some of the mentioned papers refer to studies putatively showing health and/or well-being benefits of Facebook or SM use. Close inspection of those studies invalidates this interpretation: those studies investigated nontypical ways of using SM, measured parameters outside of the health and well-being sphere, and/or involved very small groups.

The following are quotes from two sample articles in the general media that discuss this phenomenon.

 

General Media

Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?

Jean Twenge, The Atlantic, September 2017:

“The shift is stunning: 12th-graders in 2015 were going out less often than eighth-graders did as recently as 2009.”

“Once again, the effect of screen activities is unmistakable: The more time teens spend looking at screens, the more likely they are to report symptoms of depression.”

“Teens who spend three hours a day or more on electronic devices are 35 percent more likely to have a risk factor for suicide, such as making a suicide plan. (That’s much more than the risk related to, say, watching TV.)”

 “The rise in suicide, too, is more pronounced among girls. Although the rate increased for both sexes, three times as many 12-to-14-year-old girls killed themselves in 2015 as in 2007, compared with twice as many boys.”

“Social-media companies are of course aware of these problems, and to one degree or another have endeavored to prevent cyberbullying. But their various motivations are, to say the least, complex. A recently leaked Facebook document indicated that the company had been touting to advertisers its ability to determine teens’ emotional state based on their on-site behavior, and even to pinpoint “moments when young people need a confidence boost.””

“Fifty-seven percent more teens were sleep deprived in 2015 than in 1991.”

“Electronic devices and social media seem to have an especially strong ability to disrupt sleep.”

“Sleep deprivation is linked to myriad issues, including compromised thinking and reasoning, susceptibility to illness, weight gain, and high blood pressure. It also affects mood: People who don’t sleep enough are prone to depression and anxiety. Again, it’s difficult to trace the precise paths of causation.”

 

6 Ways Social Media Affects Our Mental Health

Forbes, June 30, 2017:

“The authors conclude that “it may be plausible to speak specifically of ‘Facebook Addiction Disorder’…because addiction criteria, such as neglect of personal life, mental preoccupation, escapism, mood modifying experiences, tolerance and concealing the addictive behavior, appear to be present in some people who use [social networks] excessively.””

                “The more we use social media, the less happy we seem to be.”

“The authors of one study, looking at jealousy and other negative feelings while using Facebook, wrote that “This magnitude of envy incidents taking place on FB alone is astounding, providing evidence that FB offers a breeding ground for invidious feelings.” They add that it can become a vicious cycle …”

 

CHILDREN ARE BECOMING MORE DEPRESSED AND OBESE BECAUSE OF FACEBOOK AND THE INTERNET

Newsweek (UK), June 14, 2018:

“Britain’s National Health Service wants companies like Facebook and Google to take responsibility for youth mental health crises caused by social media.

At a conference in Manchester Wednesday NHS Chief Executive Simon Stevens cautioned of a growing “double epidemic” of obesity and mental illness among British children. He blamed technology for fostering addictive behaviors and declining physical activity.”

“Excessive screen time can provoke loneliness, depression, anxiety and aggression in teens who rely on social media for interaction and self-worth, particularly harmful to young people who regularly compare themselves to people they follow and feel inadequate, according to a 2017 Royal Society of Public Health study called #StatusofMind.”

 

Disclaimer

I am neither a psychologist nor a psychiatrist, doctor, or medical researcher. I have conducted this review because of suspicion that the scientific research in this field is suppressed and/or corrupted like climate-related sciences. Sadly, the suspicion has been confirmed.

This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Some of you might expect a practical recommendation on this subject. I cannot give one, but Dr. Jean Twenge recommends parents to limit teenagers’ time online to about two hours a day.

References

Anna Vannucci , and Kaitlin Flannery. 2017. “Social media use and anxiety in emerging adults.” Journal of Affective Disorders (Elsevier). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2016.08.040

Brian Primack , Ariel Shensa, César Escobar-Viera, Erica Barrett, Jaime Sidani , Jason Colditz, and Everette James. 2017. “Use of multiple social media platforms and symptoms of depression and anxiety: A nationally-representative study among U.S. young adults.” Computers in Human Behavior (Elsevier). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2016.11.013

Brian Primack , Meghan Bisbey, Ariel Shensa , Nicholas Bowman, Sabrina Karim , Jennifer Knight, and Jaime Sidani. 2018. “The association between valence of social media experiences and depressive symptoms.” Depression & Anxiety (ADAA). https://doi.org/10.1002/da.22779

Cecilie Schou Andreassen, Torbjørn Torsheim, Geir Scott Brunborg, and Ståle Pallesen. 2012. “Development of a Facebook Addiction Scale.” Psychological Reports (Sage Journals). https://doi.org/10.2466/02.09.18.PR0.110.2.501-517

Christina Sagioglou, and Tobias Greitemeyer. 2014. “Facebook’s emotional consequences: Why Facebook causes a decrease in mood and why people still use it.” Computers in Human Behavior (Elsevier). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2014.03.003

Ethan Kross, Philippe Verduyn, Emre Demiralp, Jiyoung Park, David Seungjae Lee, Natalie Lin, Holly Shablack, John Jonides, and Oscar Ybarra. 2013. “Facebook Use Predicts Declines in Subjective Well-Being in Young Adults.” PLOS One. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0069841

Gwenn Schurgin O’Keeffe , Kathleen Clarke-Pearson, and Council on Communications and Media. 2011. “The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and Families.” Pediatrics, Clinical Report (American Academy of Pediatrics). https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2011-0054

Heather Cleland Woods , and Holly Scott. 2016. “#Sleepyteens: Social media use in adolescence is associated with poor sleep quality, anxiety, depression and low self-esteem.” Journal of Adolescence (Elsevier). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.adolescence.2016.05.008

Holly Shakya, and Nicholas Christakis. 2017. “Association of Facebook Use With Compromised Well-Being: A Longitudinal Study.” American Journal of Epidemiology. https://doi.org/10.1093/aje/kww189

Jean Twenge, Thomas Joiner, Megan Rogers, and Gabrielle Martin. 2017. “Increases in Depressive Symptoms, Suicide-Related Outcomes, and Suicide Rates Among U.S. Adolescents After 2010 and Links to Increased New Media Screen Time.” Clinical Psychological Science. https://doi.org/10.1177/2167702617723376

Leo Goldstein. 2018. “Survey of Informed Population about Social Media Impacts on Adolescents.” defyccc.com (Science for Freedom & Humans Institute). https://defyccc.com/sipsma2018

Liuyi Lin, Jaime Sidani, Ariel Shen, Ana Radovic, Elizabeth Miller, Beth Hoffman , Leila Giles, and Brian Primack. 2016. “ASSOCIATION BETWEEN SOCIAL MEDIA USE AND DEPRESSION AMONG U.S. YOUNG ADULTS.” Depression and Anxiety (ADAA). https://doi.org/10.1002/da.22466

Mai-Ly Steers. 2016. “‘It’s complicated’: Facebook’s relationship with the need to belong and depression.” Current Opinion in Psychology (Elsevier). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.copsyc.2015.10.007

Morten Tromholt. 2016. “The Facebook Experiment: Quitting Facebook Leads to Higher Levels of Well-Being.” Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. https://doi.org/10.1089/cyber.2016.0259

 

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31 thoughts on “Social Media Severely Damages Adolescents’ Health. 1/2

      • This one just happens to be about the Negative Mindset Climate being created by SM in general and Facebook specifically and how it leads to social dysfunction and mental illness

    • I thought this was a climate blog?

      You thought wrongly. While the main focus is usually climate, if you bothered reading the “about” page, you’d know it’s more than that:

      About Watts Up With That? News and commentary on puzzling things in life, nature, science, weather, climate change, technology, and recent news by Anthony Watts

      This science news site feature original content from myself as well as several contributors:

  1. Never mind SM, I get depressed by all the non-science spouted about “Climate Change” and the role of CO2.

  2. If those kids who are litigating against the threat of CAGW were serious about the danger to them, they’d sue Apple. Or Facebook.

  3. Thanks for these articles.
    I have forwarded them to the New Zealand minister for health.
    It is clear to most people that a large number of young people are disengaging from society, with suicide rates increasing.
    They acted almost immediately on the so called ozone hole by banning CFC, they are acting on so called CAGW, will they act on behalf of the worlds young people – a real problem, not an imagined problem.
    Regards

  4. Brain connectivity from electronic screen time visual processing seems, to me, as what is involved. The context is related to the young brain being still changing; hormone impacts are an
    additional modulating factor (I’ll skip discussing hormone here however).

    The neurological pathway(s) from the front of the brain cortex connecting to the brain sub-cortex are normally regulating emotion with action. In aggression the sub-cortex is not being modified by pre-frontal brain action that usually executes impulse control.

    Electronic media has created what are nicknamed “warriors” ( example subtypes being the social justice warrior & keyboard warrior)). In their throes, their brains’ left hemisphere apparently has abated connectivity with their sub-cortex. A similar underlying brain dynamic is probably occurring with social media “bullying”; & even on the internet when a “troll” comes along.

    In very simplified & general terms left brain hemisphere influences us to get close, which in a societal context is a positive emotional state. Conversely, right brain hemisphere motivates us to go away, which involves negative emotion(s).

    If suicidal childrens’ brains are behaving similar to those of suicidal adults then the following is one consequence of excessive electronic media stimulation. Apathy, poor impulse control & suicidal impulse is occurring when there is reduced neurological communication between the left rostral middle frontal cortex with the sub-cortex structure pallidum on that same (left) side.

    In plain words: positive left brain input doesn’t get into the gateway on it’s own side of brain that should pass it to the other side & so right brain negative emotion persists. Suicide is the ultimate “go way”.

    • hell theyre pre primed by the parents whcking em in front of TVS from near birth anyway!!!!
      and its not just kids by a long shot
      all my adult friends that use Fd UP book are also so bloody glued to it hard to get to talk to or even pay attention for phonecalls.
      and i swear theyre SO damned dim its scary, I dunno whats on there but its nothing educating them in any way for sure.
      i spend avg 4 to 6hrs a day on pc but dont use antisocial media at all
      reading articles here and elsewhere and browsing for science and actual news/events and emails is the only way to stay informed
      msm doesnt get to dumb me down i dont have TV for 20 yrs+

  5. Always keeping in mind that correlation is not causation. There are likely multiple factors. Over this time period there has also been an outright assault on more traditional values that created our society in the first place. Now, being a bit different from many, I’m not actually very big on these values but when I can notice it, it must be a pretty profound change.

    Girls (and to a lesser extent, boys) are told of all these NEW expectations of them…that they must compete in all the fields dominated by men and that the only reason they “really” don’t want to is because they’ve been brainwashed. They’ve been told that their culture…one of the only cultures to pull us out of the mud and establish freedom, liberty, emancipation of women/slaves, and build basically everything of importance in the world…is evil and needs to be abolished. They’re told that they live in an evil, misogynistic, racist culture of hate. They’re told they live in a RAPE culture.

    I’d be depressed too if I believed all that crap. Again, I’m not saying it can’t be social media. But there’s PLENTY of other stuff going on that shows its ugly face in social media.

    • +100 for Lloyd Burt. Biggest factors I see: Devices being used as babysitters from age 2 forward; fewer households with both father and mother present; mothers preoccupied with outside job, minimal attention to children; academic pressure; social pressure; constant media flogging negativity, including dystopian YA novels and movies; pressure to “curate” a “perfect” appearing life on social media with the attendant pressure to be thin, attractive, appear rich, etc. All of these in PLACE of the traditional values which once provided (and for many, still do) a framework of rules, ethics, and faith.

      This just happens to play out these days in the digital realm, but bullying, peer pressure, cliques, have been around FOREVER. Solution: No “smart” phone until out of school. Flip-phone to call Mummy!

  6. The internet is a wonderful communications tool and makes a massive contribution to spreading information, knowledge, education and in facilitating social interaction. Of course, as a conduit it can carry good or bad, real or fake and the result can be positive or negative. The people reading this are well aware of the massive contrast in web sites reporting honest science and honest – looking fake science. Readers here are also aware that some people are truly worried about climate change to a degree that affects their mental health. They believe all the alarmist propaganda and there is a great deal of that.

    Young people, girls in particular, become obsessed with Like and Dislike feedback, physical appearance, level of popularity and other characteristics that can be presented as being superb or criticized as being abysmal. Social media has an amplification effect since you get a lot more of that which has the most influence on your reaction.

    The recent interest in LGBT issues has increased the number of teenagers seeking gender change by 700% in a current study. This is clearly not a healthy use of technology and presents a serious problem to us all.

    Climate science is not quite in that league, but essentially it is a communications struggle. The climate has not actually changed very much but the average member of the public would find that very hard to believe. On the other hand, regular reporting of catastrophic tipping points has blunted the alarm prompted by an alleged changing climate.

    I suppose that my message is that all of us are struggling with problems introduced by a wonderful technology and we have not yet found solutions or the means of managing the negative stuff.

  7. TL;DR

    But I’m calling BS almost right from the start: “Apple is responsible for more than half of SM consumption by adolescents.”

    That’s patently untrue and makes me question everything that follows.

    At best you could say half of the use of SM by adolescents is done on an Apple product.

    Sheesh

    • Okay, so you are accepting the claim that half or more of adolescent SM is done on Apple.

      But Apple is not responsible?

      So you are suggesting that adolescents would have gotten onto SM regardless of the existence or not of Apple?

      (troll)
      Hashtag SteveJobsKnew!
      (/troll)

      Troll aside there is probably some deeper investigating required involving going through the entire Apple marketing back catalogue, isolating individual references to SM use and then compare to Non-Apple products being marketed during the same period. To knee jerk ‘patently untrue’ and then imply that the rest of the study is invalid is not really constructive.

      Science is NEVER settled, and I believe you are right in questioning everything you are told, but the methods used in said questioning is important. Break the argument down and learn from/dismiss as required, but try not to look for easy excuses.

      • Correct, Apple is not responsible. Anymore than Samsung or HTC or LG is responsible. They didn’t create the apps. Even blaming the app developer would be a stretch. Think about it – Instagram was created so people could easily share photos. It’s turned into something much more and there’s definitely a downside but saying that a phone manufacturer is responsible for the way apps are used is placing the blame on the wrong party.

        This article is one of the worst I’ve ever seen on WUWT.

        • Okay,

          so if we are willing to agree on the idea that Apple is only an innocent 3rd party supplier of hardware and only concentrate on the affects of social media software, then do we consider SM a force for good or a force for evil?

  8. is it because, until 31 years ago I has a younger brother succumb to a self inflicted gunshot wound?

    is it because I had a stroke 15 years ago that, as strokes do, scrambled my brain and left me to put it back together? While relearning how to walk.

    is it because I was a member of a group within MSN Groups, 15 or 16 years ago, and saw how trolls could so easily trash the whole thing – and – how MSN dropped the Social Media ‘Groups’ thing like a hot potato way back then

    is it because I totally stopped buying newspapers 20 years ago?

    is it because I gave away my TV 15 years ago and with the exception of A Film or Something Scientific, I still don’t watch TV?

    is it because I *hate* commercial radio?

    Which one do you think because, I’m going to say:
    Told you so
    Told you so
    Told you so

    I cannot say that without Good Reason and anyone who reads this junk will know what that reason is.
    Bottle-fed babies and Sugar
    Or even more particular, the removal of saturated fat from our diet.

    Told you so several more times, but I’ve worked out A Cure (something that will help) and have also realised that The Kids know what that cure is.
    Kids have instinct. They ‘know’ what is and is not good – for both mind and body.

    They actually had it worked out by the mid-eighties but, even more blind and dumber than chat-show hosts in the 50’s smashing up Buddy Holly records live and on-air, the UK Government *absolutely* trashed it and utterly utterly illegalised it. (Find out who Michael Eavis is and what especially he is famous for- *before* Glastonbury)

    What was made illegal?
    A group of more than 3 or 4 people playing loud music (with a repetitive beat) and ‘moving’ to the beat. Dancing.
    And how many ‘old’ people here simply don’t ‘get it’
    They think:
    ‘How can that deafening noise be called music’
    ‘How can a Dance Party or Rave be called ‘socialising’?
    How can they go into one of those for 6, 8 or even 10+ hours, continuous?
    How can they waste their lives with such junk?
    The (establishment) BBC ran a 3 part series recently about dance culture and repeatedly, constantly to the point of wanting to smash the screen, used the word ‘Hedonism’ to describe what the kids were doing. Making out that the kids were selfish time wasters who ‘Only Wanted To have A Good Time’ and ‘To He11 With Everyone Else’)
    Why don’t they have a ‘nice’ dinner party instead, or go down the pub to socialise.
    How can A Rave be a Social Thing?

    And this essay above describes the result of that thinking.
    The kids were stopped from curing themselves of depression, suicidal thoughts and loneliness.
    So they used what The Adults provided instead…..
    Alcohol. Cooked Starch.
    Refined Sugar. No fat.
    Cannabis. Trash TV.
    A media obsessed with doom, gloom and disaster.
    Celebrity Culture and personal comparison thereof.
    Acquisition of Stuff, money esp.

    The repetitive beat is the clue and bless them, the chat-show hosts of the 50’s almost had the right idea when they smashed up Buddy’s records. And Bill Haley

    The repetitive beat comes from 10’s of thousands of years ago and is genetically programmed into some particular people – People of Colour (Poc) of African Descent.
    Just like girls have ‘social intuition’, most boys have spacial awareness and water location skill, Aborigines and Native North Americans know about soil, plants, animals and climate.
    We all have six senses
    For many many people, rhythm is that 6th sense and it is a muscle that *needs* to be stretched.
    The Kids, our kids, all kids, everyone’s kids, know that. Instinctively

    What the PoCs have is the ability to beat a drum, to a fixed rhythm AND be able to keep that rhythm going for an extended period of time. That’s the important bit – the human heartbeat will synchronise with it and you will dance to that beat.
    Just like the atmosphere ‘danced’ to a beat in a story here just yesterday.
    See how we’re all ‘connected’?

    Where Bill Haley went wrong was in using a single guy on the drums. It is impossible for a single player to maintain a rhythm for any more than 3 or 4 minutes. He drifts. Speeds up. Slows down.
    Hence why rock and pop records are as long as they are?????

    But the electronic drum machine fixed that. it could play a beat continuous for as long as you wanted. It didn’t speed up or slow down and heaven forbid, did not *ever* ‘lose’ a beat.
    And the kids worked that out as soon as it was invented – early to mid eighties?
    And what happened?
    Ruthlessly stamped on by The Establishment. no parties. no raves. no enjoying yourself.
    nice

    The rave, the mass of bodies ALL moving to the same beat IS the socialising.
    Body language = moving pictures and we all know about ‘pictures and words’
    More socialising happens in a dance than ever happens inside pubs.

    Then the benefits.
    The dance provides Dopamine & Serotonin
    And it comes without chemical intervention and hence, Without Side Effects
    Every one of your 6 senses are working overdrive and doing so for 6 hours plus. Minimum.
    About the time it would take to catch something nice for you and your mate’s evening meal.
    A small Bambi perhaps?
    You do not get any more primitive.

    Not least, you discover what an *amazing* machine The Human Body actually is, especially how fuel efficient it can be.
    You do not go into a dance party with a belly full of pizza or beer. You won’t last an hour before you’re wasted, hungover, tired, wanting to sleep and annoyed by the ‘noise’

    You go into a dance with a bottle of water.
    And you burn fat. As humans are supposed to do.
    And ketone to power your brain, NOT sugar

    Of course the ‘Adults’ (the ones who smashed up Bill Haley records) will point to drug use within dances, especially stuff like acid (MDMA, possibly coke)

    But, anybody who is into Electronic Dance will tell you, you (may) need or use the acid to get you in there in the first place but after 3 or 4 visits, you’ll find its not needed.
    Not least, it was fear mongering by ‘adults’ that precipitates its use in the first place.
    The dance is the stimulant. Dopamine is The Drug

    It takes epic guts to venture in there but the benefits are incalculable – *NOT* being presented with an essay as we see above being just one of them.
    Mental and Physical Health are the real benefits.
    The kids know that. Instinctively
    We all do in fact.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-gJ0Atzg5g

    https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/nov/14/prescribing-music-dementia-modern-ills-loneliness-obesity
    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-6417607/One-EIGHT-children-mental-health-problems.html

    • PS. I’ll put a small paycheck on that youtube NOT being what you expected..
      It is, but it isn’t.

    • is it because I totally stopped buying newspapers 20 years ago?

      You were still reading newspapers 20 yrs ago?

  9. Where is all the good news, there must be some somewhere.
    No wonder the kids are depressed.
    Watch a funny cat video if you have to.

  10. I often procrastinate on other forums and have been known to spend time on some of the all ages fiction writing websites.

    If anyone doesn’t believe that the current range of under 20s are no mentally dubious then they probably need to spend a casual half hour skimming through some of those posts.

    There is a section on the reference forums where the budding writers can post questions they haven’t been able (or in many cases, been too lazy) to find out themselves. In an effect to make the question and answer process easier for people to find subject matter experts there is a sub folder where people can declare their existing skills and experiences.

    Except it is filled with people willingly confessing they suffer from and by association are experts in various mental illnesses. Now I accept that the theory is they there is no reason to hide your illness in shame in the modern world, but the important word here is still ‘illness’. These are, by definitions, not mental superpowers. You are, by definition, suffering from them. This is why most people will describe the situation as battling or struggling.

    Instead we seem to have a growing generation who are in many ways openly proud of their condition. Mental illness, far from being something to overcome, is not the new social normal and to be worn as a badge.

    As to how this situation managed to develop I do not wish to formally suggest, but one has to be just a little bit concerned with this apparent trend.

    (and this is before you get to a different section of those forums and start getting the posts from someone who had to ‘block their best friend’ and is now a complete mess, unable to continue with writing. If these weren’t real people posting these with real emotional and development issue it would actually be hilarious.)

  11. I think social media are pure poison.
    You won’t find me within a million miles of Facebook or Twitter.
    Chris

  12. TL:DR

    BS

    It’s ALL BS. Remember when Rock n Roll was causing teen suicide? The swaying of Elvis’s hips was going to have young girls turn into sluts or even worse a woman that might actually LIKE sex! THE HORRORS.

    Before that it was Jazz, before that it was…..insert anything new here…..all the way back to Socrates and before that.

    The establishment finds a scapegoat for the “corruption of the young” yet forget when they were young and their interests were scapegoats because they don’t get that they are now the establishment….it’s Orwell’s Farm all over again.

    This time it’s social media. It’s gotten to the point where you this is a “form letter” study, the fill in the blank bits are whatever the current scapegoat really is.

    Now the more cynical side of me is saying they are blaming Social Media because they can’t make any money from the kids that are smart enough to block all the damn pharmaceutical ads from popping up every 2 mins like they can from TV.

    • While I agree with the general thrust of your post, I wouldn’t be so quick to let Social Media totally off the hook. Or rather the toxic users of social media. There are a lot of nasty bullies to be found on social media, which can be harmful to young minds that aren’t yet mature enough to cope with being cyberbullied.

    • You are dismissing the main point of present SM – it is designed to be addictive.

      Once hooked on constant reactions from others the need to see how many ‘likes’ seems to be uncontrollable for some people, not just teenagers.

      Us oldies know better, and don’t carry a mobile phone on the person so each ping is not heard. (I must admit I don’t have any ‘friends’!)

      Coddled children are fearful, insecure etc.

      One solution is to have them learn music and join a choir or orchestra. They learn so much – socially, emotionally and academically.

  13. “The shift is stunning: 12th-graders in 2015 were going out less often than eighth-graders did as recently as 2009.”

    Just a guess on my part, based on anecdotal observations. Might this be at least partially caused by the trend to prevent children, both younger and older, from going outside to play on their own? Unorganized play seems to be ancient history. Kids don’t walk to school any more, they’re transported door to door in monster SUVs. So if going out isn’t something they did when young, it probably won’t be seen as an option when a teenager. And yes, there are more options for indoor entertainment – usually something electronic and connected.

    Just a thought.

  14. Apple and the other Social Media forms were created to be addictive. Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg and other IT specialists have said so and also that they limit their children’s access to any form of screen.

    I recently attended the funeral of a teenager who was talented, popular and a leader in the school but said ‘everyone wants a piece of me’. Unable to respond to the dozens of messages daily and during most nights, it all became too much. Suicide had devastated the family.

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