Social Media Use in UK Teens and their Perceived Effects: A Survey of UK Teenagers’ Use of and Views on Social Media
- Social media,
- negative effects,
- positive effects
Copyright (c) 2021 Isaac MGEKN et al.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Background: The use of social media has been growing rapidly with easy access for young people. Psychologists have studied the social and psychological impact of social media use on adolescents; however there is very little qualitative data of social media use among adolescents and their views.
Aims: To explore the views of adolescents in Sussex about the educational, social and psychological impacts of using social media sites and analyze adolescents’ descriptions of their own personal experiences of social media use.
Method: 500 young people between the ages of 11 to 18 years in Sussex (UK) were invited to take part in a questionnaire survey exploring their use and views about social media.
Results: A total of 465 (93%) of students completed the questionnaire. 73% of participants used three or more sites. On average each participant spent 22 hours weekly on social media sites. In all five domains explored, the majority of participants scored the negative impact of use of social media as low with an overall mean of 2 out of possible 5. Over 70% scored low negative impact for Education, 75% for relationships, 64% for Self-esteem, 73% for Health and 71% for Safety. On the other hand, the percentage scoring 4 or 5 for positive impact were 22% for Education, 36% for Relationships, 24% for Self-esteem, 12% for Health and 15% for Safety. However there was a difference between younger and older teens.
Conclusion: Studies have shown negative social media impact on teens including self-esteem, anxiety and depression. However young people have a different view. Young people have balanced views about the effects of social media. They felt that social media use improved their relationships, particularly among younger students. Older teens perceived higher negative effect on their safety. Further work is needed to improve the safety awareness of young teens.