Oxford Researchers Conclude Social Media, Technology Use Not Linked To Mental Health Crisis
If you watch too much TV or play on your phone for too long, and your brain will go to mush. Or at least that is what we have been told over the years. While those claims may be outlandish, there have been legitimate concerns about increased mental health problems relating to increased technology use. Researchers at Oxford University have found that not to be the case, though, after completing a study over data from the previous 30 years with a combined total of 430,000 participants from the U.S. and the U.K.
The researchers at Oxford set out to investigate links between social media and technology use to depression, emotional problems, and conduct problems. However, technology and social media have developed and changed over the prior 30 years, so the research must address this change and the public’s change in concerns about technology. To do this, the researchers looked at possible declines in “observed relationships between television -- and mental health” as well as “potential increases in negative associations between mental health and social media and digital devices.”
After the study was completed, the researchers found that the “association between emotional problems and social media had increased, but their association with TV had remained stable.” Furthermore, they also found that “no credible changes were detected in the relationship between suicidal ideation and behavior and either social media or television.”
Though this was the conclusion that was reached, the Oxford team believes that further research must be conducted with unbiased data sets before anything further can be determined. These additional studies could be accomplished through “transparent and robust science” in partnership with technology companies who the study claims have better data than is currently available. Hopefully, as time goes on, these companies will open their data to help research the effects of technology and social media on children. In any case, let us know what you think of this study and its results in the comments below.