Increased social media usage correlates with a decrease in overall happiness, according to the recently released World Happiness Report.
The study was commissioned as an addition to the UN’s 2019 World Happiness Report.
The report studied children in the US aged 13 – 16 revealed that despite improvements in the standard of living, teenagers happiness has gone down as digital media use increases.
There has been a “fundamental shift” in how adolescents spend their free time, the report claims, with time being taken away from other non-technology activities that are linked to higher levels of happiness, such as sleeping and in-person interaction. It shows that having a phone is making teenagers unhappy.
It showed sports, social interaction, sleep and volunteer work brought the most happiness to teens. While listening to music on phones, going online on phones, on-phone gaming and social media use all brought unhappiness. It also found that teens are spending less time physically meeting up with friends, socialising and going to parties, while increasing their time online.
Between 1991 and 2011, happiness and life satisfaction among teens increased in the U.S., per the report. But it began to decline in 2012, and by 2017 both adults and adolescents were significantly less happy than in the 2000s. Last year 90% of teens had access to smartphones, with half revealing they are online constantly.
Advice for parents
Use common sense when parenting your child online. It is your responsibility to make sure you have full control of when your child can access the internet. Once you have the internet controls in place, make sure your child can only access the internet for a reasonable amount of time. Ensuring that they are never ‘Always Online’. Your child will almost certainly not like this, but you’re there to be a parent to them, not their best friend.