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Clin Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2018 Oct;23(4):601-613. doi: 10.1177/1359104518775154. Epub 2018 May 20.

Is social media bad for mental health and wellbeing? Exploring the perspectives of adolescents.

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1 Greenwood Institute of Child Health, University of Leicester, UK.
2 University of Leicester, UK.
3 Information School, The University of Sheffield, UK.


Despite growing evidence of the effects of social media on the mental health of adolescents, there is still a dearth of empirical research into how adolescents themselves perceive social media, especially as knowledge resource, or how they draw upon the wider social and media discourses to express a viewpoint. Accordingly, this article contributes to this scarce literature. Six focus groups took place over 3 months with 54 adolescents aged 11-18 years, recruited from schools in Leicester and London (UK). Thematic analysis suggested that adolescents perceived social media as a threat to mental wellbeing and three themes were identified: (1) it was believed to cause mood and anxiety disorders for some adolescents, (2) it was viewed as a platform for cyberbullying and (3) the use of social media itself was often framed as a kind of 'addiction'. Future research should focus on targeting and utilising social media for promoting mental wellbeing among adolescents and educating youth to manage the possible deleterious effects.


Social media; adolescents; information; mental health; wellbeing

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