It’s safe to say that the general consensus on social media is divided. There are some positives for sure, but most definitely some negatives as well. Considering it is a relatively new phenomenon, we are yet to see the lasting effects that apps such as Instagram and Facebook have on us as individuals as well as society as a whole. But is it any worse than TV, video games or the internet?

Well a new study suggest that those may in fact be worse.

The research, studying brain development, found that children (ages 9 and 10) who take part in social media use of Instagram or texting have benefited from positive effects such as less family conflict, fewer sleep problems, and increased physical activity.

The children in the study who used general media (again, TV, video games, and the internet) were more prone to family conflict and worse sleep.

The study, which launched in 2015, comes from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study (which is a project of the National Institute of Health). The researchers analyzed the data from around 4,500 young people and their parents, gathering information on the development of the children’s brain and how they move from adolescence to becoming an adult. This is the first set of data to emerge from the study.

The media used by the children wasn’t completely black and white. The children who used social media did spend time with the more “general media” as well, but overall, spent more time with social media.

But before you go letting your kids spend as much time as they want on Social Media, note that the the study was lacking in determining the recommend the amount of time that children should actually spend on the social websites/apps—which you know, may be important.


For more information on the study, check out the piece over at NPR.

Cover Photo by Hal Gatewood

Photo 1 by Tim Gouw