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Research Department of Epidemiology and Public Health
UCL Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care

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Social Media Evidence

30 November 2018

APPG-evidence

ICLS Director Yvonne Kelly has given evidence to an All Party Parliamentary Group inquiry into social media and young people's wellbeing.

Yvonne joined academics from the Universities of Bristol and Birmingham, a group of mental health clinicians and MPs Chris Ellmore and William Wragg to discuss evidence around the benefits and pitfalls associated with heavy social media use. 

Yvonne and colleagues have undertaken a number of studies using Understanding Society and the Millennium Cohort Study to look the issue and have shown that 10 year-old girls  who spent an hour or more on a school day chatting online had considerably more social and emotional problems later on -- by age 15 -- than girls of the same age who spent less or no time on social media. The number of problems they faced also increased as they got older, which was not the case for boys. 

More recent research looks more closely at the links between heavy use and depression and the role that things like cyberbullying, sleep, body image and self esteem might play.