A new study has been released revealing that British teenagers are more likely to increase their use of social media over the Christmas and New Year period.
The study was conducted by The Children’s Society, which polled just over 1,000 English and Welsh children aged between 13 and 17, and found that nearly a third of participants would increase their social media usage during the Christmas holidays. On the other side of the barrel, less than a tenth of British teens said they would decrease their social media time during this period.
Why do teens feel the need to increase social media use over Christmas?
The survey found that teens had a variety of reasons why they will turn to social media over Christmas, with 32% stating that the main reason would be because they are bored. A further 17% gave the reason of escaping family stress, with 13% of teens using platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat in order to help them feel less alone.
One fifth of children will check social media to see if their friends are having a better time than they are over Christmas, stating that they believe this to be the case.
The Chief Executive of The Children’s Society, Matthew Reed, said that Christmas can be an intense and stressful time for both adults and children. He believes it is easy for them to miss their friends while being off school for the holidays, with social media stepping up to the plate in terms of filling that void and keeping the child in the loop with the outside world.
Furthermore, while Reed acknowledges that the use of social media can have beneficial effects on children, he warns that overuse can have damaging effects on the wellbeing of youths in terms of mental health.
These detrimental effects of social media may ultimately come down to the way in which users interact with it. It is common knowledge that users post the highlights of what’s going on in their lives, with platforms such as Facebook acting like an extended ‘best bits’ montage. It is common to see people posting their holiday photos, or snaps they have taken from big events they attended.
By posting the best parts of their lives, it makes other users feel like they are missing out, or that their lives aren’t as interesting, causing feelings of jealousy and low self-esteem.
Reed also commented that parents should take an interest in what their children are getting up to on social media and become aware of the effects so that they can help keep the social media experience as positive as possible.