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Facebook makes teenagers depressed, anxious and unable to sleep, study finds

Researchers from the University of Glasgow issued questionnaires to 467 teenagers

Olivia Blair
Friday 11 September 2015 15:01 BST
( Peter Macdiarmid/Getty)

In a far cry from writing letters to pen-friends, or only using a landline in the evening, teenagers are now widely expected to be available to their friends at all hours, thanks to social media.

However, a study has found that these "pressures" to be available 24/7 through means such as Facebook can cause depression and anxiety in teenagers.

Researchers from the University of Glasgow issued questionnaires to 467 teenagers about their social media habits. Tests were then carried out to measure sleep quality, anxiety, depression and self-esteem amongst participants.

The study found that general and “night-time specific” use of social media related to higher levels of anxiety and depression, lower self-esteem and poorer sleep quality.

Lead author, Dr Cleland Woods said: “Adolescence can be a period of increased vulnerability for the onset of depression and anxiety, and poor sleep quality may contribute to this. It is important that we understand how social media use relates to these.

“Evidence is increasingly supporting a link between social media use and wellbeing, particularly during adolescence, but the causes of this are unclear”.

Those who click and type away at night are “particularly affected”, according to Dr Woods, which she says “means we have to think about how our kids use social media, in relation to time for switching off.”

Earlier this year, a study by the Pew Research Centre found that almost a quarter of teenagers said they are online “almost constantly”.

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