(ThePatriotWire)- According to a new study, social media poses a significant risk to the current and future health of today’s young people.
The youth mental health charity stem4 conducted a survey of 1,024 children and young people ages 12 to 21 which found that 75 percent of children as young as 12 dislike their bodies and are embarrassed by their appearance, that number increases to 80 percent among young people ages 18 to 21.
Nearly half of respondents said they have become withdrawn, started exercising excessively, stopped socializing, or self-harmed after being trolled or bullied online about their physical appearance.
Forty percent said they were experiencing mental health issues, with nearly 20 percent of those describing body image issues and 14 percent describing eating difficulties, including restrictive eating, binge eating, and purging.
However, only 10 percent said they were receiving treatment for their issues.
Dr. Nihara Krause, the CEO and founder of stem4 told the UK Guardian that it was vital to understand the “potentially compelling impact of social media content” on young people’s mental health.
Krause, a consultant clinical psychologist, described the survey findings as “deeply worrying.” She said young people who use social media for “much-needed information and advice” are instead “presented with a supposed reality that is distorted and harmful.” She said rather than finding the information they need, their online searches “keep generating triggering content” that “compounds the problem.”
According to the survey, 97 percent of young people ages 12 to 21 are on social media, despite nearly 70 percent of them saying it makes them stressed, anxious, and depressed. Those surveyed admitted that they continue to use social media despite their concerns that it damages their mental health, with 95 percent saying they felt unable to quit.
The respondents also admitted that they are four times more likely to use social media when looking to overcome negative feelings about their bodies than to talk to family or friends.