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Kids aren’t negatively affected by social media, new study finds

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It’s a fact of life: we humans eventually find a way to thrive, not to mention survive in any, including this particular moment in our civilization’s era, our history. And we do it by participating, fighting against any adversity, and eventually winning.

This time, we are in, and emerging into what is known in some quarters as “the Fourth Industrial Revolution.” And it should be obvious that, regardless of any temporary setbacks, we will eventually be the winners there as well.

And this particular “revolution’s” engine and its defining, underlying feature is technology. Technology is permeating every corner of our lives and our world – more often than not, for the better – compared to the lives of our grandparents – but sometimes, and there’s no way around it – for the worse.

And as any revolution is bound to do, it’s also changing our social interactions. It’s, therefore, no wonder that generations that merely grew up into this new world have concerns about the well-being of their offspring – namely, “kids these days” – those born into the new, tech-driven world, and destined to spend their whole lives in it.

The good news, meanwhile, is that whatever else may or not be false or true about this new brave world: at least the most obvious, surface feature of a technology-driven world, “social media” – doesn’t seem to be making kids any more happy or unhappy than they might otherwise be.

And that’s in stark contrast with what some governments might wish to persuade people to be true. In the end, it’s likely that people – people themselves, and other people – are those who make people unhappy, rather than any outside entity such as “social media.”

PNAS has published a new, comprehensive study that for one found no evidence to the contrary.

“In this study, we used large-scale representative panel data to disentangle the between-person and within-person relations linking adolescent social media use and well-being. We found that social media use is not, in and of itself, a strong predictor of life satisfaction across the adolescent population. Instead, social media effects are nuanced, small at best, reciprocal over time, gender-specific, and contingent on analytic methods,” said Professor Andrew Przybylski, of the Oxford Internet Institute.

“99.75 percent of a person’s life satisfaction has nothing to do with their use of social media,” Przybylski is quoted as telling the BBC while driving the study’s findings home.

A previous, but much more limited and therefore less relevant study, conducted at UPenn, showed that spending less time on social media could prove beneficial in a person’s fight against depression.

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