Research from the Millennium Cohort Study shows that nearly half of British teenagers experience social media addiction.
Social media has become a ubiquitous part of most people's daily lives. A recent study by Dr Amy Orben and her team at the University of Cambridge found that teenagers overwhelmingly feel addicted to it.
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Teenagers and social media
According to recent research published by the Millennium Cohort, a significant number of young Britons have admitted to feeling addicted to social media and that their usage is beyond their control.
The study was conducted with 19,000 young people born between 2000 and 2002, of which 7,000 responded to the survey. The results revealed that a staggering 48% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, "I think I am addicted to social media".
However, the researchers emphasise that feeling addicted to social media does not necessarily mean that one is clinically addicted but indicates a need to control one's usage.
"We’re not saying the people who say they feel addicted are addicted. Self-perceived social media addiction is not [necessarily] the same as drug addiction. But it’s not a nice feeling to feel you don’t have agency over your own behaviour. It’s quite striking that so many people feel like that, and it can’t be that good," Georgia Turner, a PhD student leading the analysis, told the media.
Social media affects mental health
The World Health Organization has recently recognised "gaming disorder" as an official diagnosis and has now included it in the International Classification of Diseases. This decision was made in response to the increasing concern about the adverse effects of social media on the mental health and well-being of young people, as well as the rising prevalence of compulsive behaviour associated with it.
"Social media research has largely assumed that [so-called] social media addiction is going to follow the same framework as drug addiction," Georgia Turner told The Guardian.