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Facebook and Twitter 'Harm Young People's Mental Health' (theguardian.com) 120

Instagram and Snapchat are really bad for young people's mental health, according to research by two health organisations. Virtually all major social media platforms have a negative impact on the well-being of 14-24-year-olds, the study adds. Instagram was the worst -- followed by Snapchat, Facebook, and Twitter. From a report on The Guardian: Instagram has the most negative impact on young people's mental wellbeing, a survey of almost 1,500 14- to 24-year-olds found, and the health groups accused it of deepening young people's feelings of inadequacy and anxiety. The survey, published on Friday, concluded that Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter are also harmful. Among the five only YouTube was judged to have a positive impact. The four platforms have a negative effect because they can exacerbate children's and young people's body image worries, and worsen bullying, sleep problems and feelings of anxiety, depression and loneliness, the participants said.

Facebook and Twitter 'Harm Young People's Mental Health'

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  • No shit sherlock.

  • by KennyP ( 724304 ) on Friday May 19, 2017 @12:06PM (#54449021)

    Living is the leading cause of death.

    Film at eleven!

  • I smell... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) * on Friday May 19, 2017 @12:08PM (#54449033)

    I smell a class-action suit! Lawyers will not be able to help themselves.

    • I smell a class-action suit! Lawyers will not be able to help themselves.

      I understand that lawyers are fitted with laws similar in character to Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics.

      They will self-limit their behaviour if there is imminent danger of doing public good.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Facebook and Twitter 'Harm Young People's Mental Health'

    Facebook and Twitter 'Harm People's Mental Health'. There, FTFY.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Pretty sure Slashdot ruins the mental health of young techies, engineers & scientists aged 18-24.

    • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

      Slashdot simply doesn't have the volume of garbage to pull this off. Slashdot is a pea shooter on a modern battlefield.

      Facebook, on the other hand, is like grandma's chain letters on steroids with everyone contributing to the feedback loop and reality distortion filters.

      Although modern marketing in general is all about abusing your adrenal system in order to keep your attention. That has bled over into journalism. Facebook just then takes it up a notch.

    • I'll have you know that my brain damage was caused by Applesoft BASIC, you insensitive clod!

  • IRC! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Highdude702 ( 4456913 ) on Friday May 19, 2017 @12:19PM (#54449095)

    The only true, and also oldest form of "social media" is IRC. It's all you need and you will actually have to learn things to use it for your first few times.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Bullshit. BBSes predate that by decades. And if you think that wasn't social, find out what a GT was.

    • Usenet, Plato Talkomatic and Notesfiles, and many others just called and want their due. IRC is a relative newcomer from the late 1980s.

      • I am also a relative newcomer from the late 80's.. but when i was young my dad had showed me how to use dial in bbs's also..

    • Call me old fashioned (and it wouldn't be the first time), but I prefer my faithful ASR-33 connected to a Fidonet node, thank you.

      • Call me old fashioned

        You're old fashioned.

      • When my local BBS connected to Fidonet and offered FREE international email, it totally blew my mind! I mean, I could write an email today, and in less than 24 hours it would be in Japan. Like magic.

    • by Z80a ( 971949 )

      Those chat programs are the best because you actually befriend people on em, instead of just collecting people like pokemon and never actually talking much to em.

  • Actual Data (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Has anyone found the actual survey data? I'm curious how the survey was worded.

    • Re:Actual Data (Score:5, Informative)

      by Jzanu ( 668651 ) on Friday May 19, 2017 @12:36PM (#54449197)
      Survey questionnaire design involves randomized phrasing for all questions, such that the proportion receiving any phrasing is comparable - like stratified sampling. Within research design that is a major component. Clauses are rotated in position, alternative valuations are used. Here is a good reference [wisc.edu] for those interested. Sampling remains a concern but through proper design all errors and bias are minimized.
    • The report can be found at the Royal Society for Public Health [rsph.org.uk] site, but it's really just a summary and conclusions. I have not been able to find the actual data, or examples of the survey.
      • You'll likely need to contact the original authors. Getting sample surveys should be as easy as a polite request; getting at the raw data may take distinctly more, and it's probably best if you get a bit of a conversation going first, if nothing else to find out what information about the subjects is in there. If there's stuff with a strong risk of letting you identify subjects, they should be not very willing to share it. (Standard ethical rules: You don't out your subjects without their permission, and

  • by fluffernutter ( 1411889 ) on Friday May 19, 2017 @12:30PM (#54449143)
    It makes lots of money so how bad can it be??
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 19, 2017 @12:32PM (#54449163)
    Facebook is CANCEROUS. Everyone should get the hell off it ASAP.

    ..b-b-but all my friends!

    THEY'RE NOT REAL. GO OUTSIDE, meet REAL people, make REAL friends.

    ..b-b-but how will I keep in touch with people?

    How did you do it before so-called 'social media'? DO IT THAT WAY AGAIN, FOOL!

    ..b-b-but Facebook brings people together!

    LOL, no, it doesn't, it gives them a reason to STAY APART. Knock that shit off!

    ..b-b-but my boss requires me to have Facebook!

    BULLSHIT.

    ..b-b-but where will I find out what's going on in the world?

    YOU IDIOT! Get your news from a REAL NEWS SOURCE, NOT SOCIAL MEDIA, YOU FUCKTARD!

    Seriously, isn't it time to abandon this running troll/meme/joke called 'social media'? Or are you STUPID?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Agreed, and unfortunately "real" news sources are getting harder and harder to come by as more and more are just regurgitating "tweets".

      captcha: artifact

    • by PSXer ( 854386 )

      Says the guy who posts to Slashdot, which is clearly not another form of social media

    • I dropped Facebook years ago, and have recently dropped Reddit as well. Slashdot is the only remaining website I use that has a broad range of topics discussed. I noticed I felt a lot better shortly after dropping social sites. I was no longer angry over random people saying stupid stuff, or personally attacking me, or whatever. And looking back, I realized that the only people I lost touch with from dropping facebook, were people I honestly didn't care about anyways. I don't care what my classmate fro
    • It's not going to happen because Facebook is like a drip-feed of dopamine to the brain. People are literally addicted. Good business plan they have there.
    • by kubajz ( 964091 )
      ..b-b-but I cannot call people FUCKTARDs to their face offline!

      Well, try to find some other outlet online... oh wait!

  • so why don't I kill me?
  • by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Friday May 19, 2017 @12:35PM (#54449189)
    Are they certain it's a casual relationship? If one were to look at a many Facebook and Twitter comments one could just as well conclude that the platforms attract people who already have mental health problems.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by alvinrod ( 889928 )
      Fuck me. Causal relationship.

      Must have been getting my /. posts mixed up with my craigslist posts.
    • Are they certain it's a casual relationship? If one were to look at a many Facebook and Twitter comments one could just as well conclude that the platforms attract people who already have mental health problems.

      This guy gets it: Correlation != Causation

    • by fermion ( 181285 )
      One thing that has been hypothesized is the sheer amount of time people spend on these services. The fact that many have no down time, no time to process, no time for their minds to heal. There have been cases where it has been theorized that children have committed suicide because the bullying was relentless. In time past, one could leave the school, go home, and limit contact to those who did not actively hate you. At the very least, the time one was supposed to be trying to sleep was time when you we
  • by gosand ( 234100 ) on Friday May 19, 2017 @12:38PM (#54449203)

    I was on IG for about a year and a half, and it was my only form of social media. One day I just realized one day how corrosive it is. I felt like a chicken, always peck peck pecking at my phone, trying to keep up with my feed. I was mainly involved with motorcycle builder, buying/selling parts, etc. People would visciously gang up on others, and do all kinds of nasty things if they didn't like you, or you wouldn't sell parts as cheap as they wanted. I had real-life friends that would get fired up and angry over things that happened on IG. I know people who stopped being friends because of some things that happened in the comments of IG.

    I just walked away from it when I woke up to this. Having been around the internet since 1990, I've seen all this stuff before. But with things like IG it has a very low entry point, meaning anyone can join the fray. It's not just for the technically inclined, and quite honestly I think it shows off the worst parts of society. It can do the opposite, but it seems as in life, the ones who make the most noise and are most aggressive ruin it for the rest.

    • Just learn to ignore them. The lost art of ignoring people is a wondrous thing and should be taught in school at least as much as they focus on paying attention..
      • by Anonymous Coward

        I'd say gosand did learn to ignore them. He left Instagram, after all.

    • Having been around the internet since 1990, I've seen all this stuff before.

      Yes, remember newsgroups and IRC, where eventually one or more users started to control and moderate every thread.
      It's more apparent, aggressive and abusive now.
      At least with real life discussions you can prevent unwanted interventions, for now

  • Don't turn that computer on until you put on your Twitter Helmets.
  • back in my day (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Pedestrianwolf ( 1591767 ) on Friday May 19, 2017 @12:43PM (#54449247)
    In school I never understood or tolerated bullying and I was bullied quite a bit. General strategy was to verbally goad the bully into throwing the first punch. I was tall for my age and obese, I usually mopped the floor with them. Fat guy strength is a thing. That generally brought a solid end to the bullying; at least for a good while and never again from the same source. I graduated a few years before MySpace. So when I went home, the whole horrible drama of high-school ended and I could just dial my friends' pagers and play Diablo 2. It was such a relief sometimes to get home. I dreaded going to school but I had a sanctuary at the end of each day. These days it's zero tolerance. Moves I made to thwart bullying would get me expelled in today's schools. It doesn't stop people from being assholes. For these kids the day to day pressure of dealing with social clicks, bullying, being judged, being different, feeling awkward, not fitting in, measuring up... it never ends. They leave the school then go to their screens and it just keeps. on. going. I guess it always did, but at least I didn't have to watch it play out in slow motion on the Internet. How can we get people to just follow Bill & Ted's advice?
  • by Scroatzilla ( 672804 ) on Friday May 19, 2017 @12:44PM (#54449253) Homepage Journal

    One of the two groups, http://www.yhm.org.uk/ [yhm.org.uk] Young Health Movement, appears to be a subgroup of https://www.rsph.org.uk/ [rsph.org.uk] Royal Society for Public Health.

    Looks like a single politically motivated activist group. It is also involved with campaigns to stop smoking, to label alcoholic beverages with calorie information, and the "Health on the High Street" campaign, whose mission is described as to "...ensure that local authorities have the powers they need to curtail business practices which may undermine the public’s health."

    In other words, their aim seems to be to increase government intervention—in this case, within the realm of social interaction amongst the proles.

    I would interpret this as a thinly veiled attempt to justify some kind of policy to further police language on these platforms to protect those who might be triggered or otherwise require a safe space. It is also kind of a stretch to include YouTube with "social platforms," because that is much more oriented toward pulling desirable content than it is toward open discussion.

    • to label alcoholic beverages with calorie information,

      What the fuck is wrong with that?

      • to label alcoholic beverages with calorie information,

        What the fuck is wrong with that?

        There's been an ongoing problem with stupid, stupid girls who skip meals so they can 'spend' their calories on booze. This makes the alcohol have a stronger effect on them and causes all sorts of nutritional disorders because they're effectively cutting back on nutrients--yes, they end up thin. Starving yourself works quite well for that. This doesn't make it healthy, and quite a few of these twits end up in the ER with alcohol poisoning. Some who manage to avoid that will get brain damage.

        It doesn't he

  • Shocker (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Nidi62 ( 1525137 ) on Friday May 19, 2017 @12:46PM (#54449281)

    I had this conversation with my wife last night. She watches (nowhere near as much as she used to though) several Youtube families. One in particular is a Mormon family with about 5 kids; the father started making the videos years ago and ended up starting a youtube/video production company that got bought out by Disney. So they have literally made millions because of Youtube. In any case, they always projected being the perfect, happy (not so) little family in all of their videos. But it just came out that the father has been fooling around with cam girls and is an alcoholic.

    It's a perfect example of why people need to teach children not to put so much stock into social media: all you ever see are the good times, and the personas that people want you to see. It gives children the impression that if their life isn't one exciting or fun event after another then they are missing out or something is wrong with them, which fuels depression. It makes them feel like everyone else is having fun all the time, and gives them unrealistic outlooks on what life is supposed to be like. And this is only part of the problem. Add in the ability of social media to allow bullying to follow children home from school and it's no wonder kids these days have so many issues. Parents really need to be parents and make their kids cut back on the social media. It would all their lives so much easier.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      In any case, they always projected being the perfect, happy (not so) little family in all of their videos. But it just came out that the father has been fooling around with cam girls and is an alcoholic.

      Honestly, anyone that's ever had a family will tell you: that's pretty damn close to perfect if that's the extent of the problems (depending on how bad his alcoholism is). I mean, by most accounts, I had a picture perfect upbringing, and we had those problems and many more! My family is all still very close (except my parents who are divorced, but don't actively hate each other or anything).

  • A lot of users don't understand the purpose behind gamification of social sites; which is primarily to keep you using them.

    I've seen users get extremely agitated over follower counts, number of likes, reblogs, retweets, etc. They begin to associate self worth with those statistics. It gets into their heads and makes their lives miserable, yet they continue coming back to the sites / apps to try and increase their widget counts.

    I don't know if people get an endorphin rush if their post gets 20,000 [metric] a

    • It's pretty much done pretty much entirely for the benefit of the social media sites' owners--gamificaion increases views, which increases the money ads earn. The main thing that can be done to counter it at the moment is ad blocking, to break their part of the reward cycle.

  • Or maybe people who have feelings of inadequacy and anxiety choose to use social media in an attempt to mitigate those feelings (futile.)

  • There have been many studies like this that show social media in general increases feelings of isolation, inadequacy, etc. that were already there. Coming of age is a difficult time for a lot of people, and having a non-stop 24 hour feed of your "friends" posting all sorts of positive status updates, vacation pictures, etc. doesn't help if you're going through a rough time.

    - People tend to post either overly positive aspects of their lives on social media. Most people don't post an equivalent number of bad

    • - People tend to post either overly positive aspects of their lives on social media. Most people don't post an equivalent number of bad or boring things that happen to them. The exception to this is when people post about their family members dying or similar to try to get some sympathetic reactions.

      I notice this about people in general. To me, a friend is someone who shares their woes with me as well as their successes and they are accepting when I reciprocate. The problem is much worse on social media because, let's face it, who wants to post a picture where everyone looks like crap?

  • Where it would it score on the positive-to-negative impact?

    Mod this post up if you think this is a good question.
  • I'd like to see the raw data. Based on what's in the report I'd have to say I disagree with the conclusions. Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram all show small net negative results, but YouTube shows a large net positive. "Social media", taken as a whole, has a small net positive. This is hardly a "harm to young people's mental health" and a need to take action as the RSPH is demanding.

    Of course, the devil's in the details, which are sadly missing. The survey called out 14 factors and asked part

    • Sorry, I linked the wrong page on the RSPH site. Here is the report: #StatusOfMind [rsph.org.uk]

  • Said it before. [slashdot.org]

    Facebook is not a social network, it's is a global mental illness.

    • Re: your post:
      It's kind of amazing how I went from the nerdy one who was always using a computer, to now I am the least nerdy of all, surrounded by people with their faces in their devices. My own habits haven't changed much at all.
  • by creimer ( 824291 ) on Friday May 19, 2017 @01:58PM (#54449859) Homepage

    Reruns of Batman and Three Stooges 'Harm Young People's Mental Health'

    I heard that back in the early 1970's when I in kindergarten and the early grades. Teachers didn't like kids using their jackets as capes, jumping off high surfaces and screaming "BATMAN!" at the top of their voice, or trying to poke out each other's eyes like the Three Stooges. Fun times.

    • by bmo ( 77928 )

      My dad and his best friend jumped off the barn with umbrellas because of Mary Poppins.

      I'm sure the ancient Greeks were aghast at all the kids lookin' at their moms in a new way after an enactment of Oedipus Rex.

      --
      BMO

    • One teacher was concerned when the software I wrote had Batman-style "POW!" "BANG!" "ZAP!" overlays instead of explosions or blood, or something Normal.

      To which I say... "duh ne nu ne nu ne nu ne duh ne nu ne nu ne nu ne BATMAN!"

  • I could only find this : https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/p... [ssrn.com]. Had to follow a couple of links. Seriously, this Guardian article should not even be considered when it starts mentioning research and not even providing sources.

    It's so easy to say "new technology will doom us all". I'm not using facebook, but I'm always cautious when reading those full-of-bullshit articles.

  • ... according to research by two health organisations. Virtually all major social media platforms have a negative impact on the well-being of 14-24-year-olds,

    Researchers need to widen the age range. I imagine social media has a negative impact on most of us.

  • "Facebook and Twitter 'Harm Young People's Mental Health'"

    Brought to you by the Department of No Shit, Sherlock.

  • In my day I had to hang out all day at the nickle arcade and play the "home version" of games on my Atari 800 with Iron Maiden or Metallica on the turntable to harm my mental health!

  • Facebook harms my mental health and I don't even use it. Just the anguish of trying to minimize the information they collect about me and how many images of me that normal people share is enough to cause me stress. Maybe those of us who don't use Facebook can sue for the mental anguish of knowing Facebook exists.

  • Oh, those young people! They should do something wholesome, like rock and roll.

Theory is gray, but the golden tree of life is green. -- Goethe

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