Does social media use affect the life satisfaction of young people?

In what follows, please find the results of the most recent and probably largest longitudinal study on the topic -- which has just appeared in the Journal PNAS. 1/11
Together with @OrbenAmy & @ShuhBillSkee we have analyzed data from Understanding Society, the largest panel study worldwide. 8 Waves of data were collected, each separated by 1 year. The results are based on the answers of altogether 5,491 British Youth. @usociety 2/11
The data were analyzed using Random Intercept Cross-Lagged Panel Models – after RCTs arguably the best method to estimate causal effects. Using Specification Curve Analyses we ran overall 2,268 models – thereby increasing the results’ robustness. 3/11
Result 1: The effect of social media use on the satisfaction with several domains (life, friends, school) is tiny! On average, changes in use account for less then 1 percent of changes in life satisfaction! 4/11
Result 2: Whereas for boys we find only few significant effects (16%), for girls social media use seems to be more negative (40% sign. effects). However: When comparing the effects directly, they aren’t significantly different from one another – and still trivial in size. 5/11
Result 3: Result go also in the opposite direction: If youths are less satisfied with their lives, afterward they’re using slightly more social media. Again, effects seem larger for girls. 6/11
Limitation 1: Also this study, of course, does not have the final word. For example, social media use was assessed using self-reports – but at least since @mscharkow we know that they are imprecise (doi: 10.1080/19312458.2015.1118446) 7/11
Limitation 2: We analyzed effects across 1 year. However, it’s likely that stronger effects might take place in shorter (or even longer) intervals. 8/11
Implication 1: We should not overestimate the effects of social media. To contextualize: Additional analyses showed that the effects were comparable to youths eating dinner together with their families. Ergo: No reason to panic! 9/11
Implication 2: Effects depend. For example, on domain (satisfaction with friends vs. school), interval, or type of use. Broad generalizations should be avoided! 10/11
Read the paper: Orben, A., Dienlin, T., & Przybylski, A. K. (2019). Social media’s enduring effect on adolescent life satisfaction. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.… @PNASNews #openaccess #opencode 11/11

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More from @tdienlin

Apr 20
Jonathan Haidt wrote an important article on the effects of social media on democracy.

Although there are several things to like, I believe he got three major things wrong. 🧵…
1⃣ Social media just aren't inherently bad.

Haidt labels social media as "terrible". However, as every Communication scholar knows, social media offer a plethora of uses and gratifications. There are plenty reason we spend so much time online.
In my reading of the literature, the four most important ones are:

1. Information Management
2. Relationship Management
3. Reputation Management
4. Mood Management
Read 12 tweets
Jun 23, 2020
"The impact of digital technology use on adolescent well-being"

New lit. review together with @NiklasJohannes, just published in "Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience".

👇 Thread with main conclusions 👇(1/8)
1. The general effects of digital technology use on well-being are likely in the negative spectrum, but very small—potentially too small to matter. (2/8)
2. No screen time is created equal; different uses will lead to different effects. (3/8)
Read 8 tweets
May 24, 2020
Okay, #ica20, let's do this. Here are my thoughts on #openscience and #opencomm for the more qualitative approaches in our field!

(Beware, long thread.)
(Also, please be kind.)
>Background: I was VERY curious how our agenda for #opencomm would be received in our field (if you don't know what I'm talking about, here's the link:…).
>Basically, we're calling for making research more available, transparent, & traceable. We encourage the sharing of data (where ever possible) & analysis scripts, and the introduction of preregistration, registered reports, large scale collaborations, the TOP guidelines, etc.
Read 32 tweets
May 6, 2019
Beeinflusst Social Media-Nutzung die Lebenszufriedenheit? Stimmt die These, u.a. vertreten von Spitzer, dass Jugendliche durch Social Media unglücklicher werden?

Hier die Ergebnisse der umfangreichsten längsschnittlichen Studie zum Thema - soeben erschienen im Journal PNAS! 1/11
Zusammen mit @OrbenAmy & @ShuhBillSkee analysierten wir Daten von Understanding Society, der weltweit umfangreichsten Längsschnittstudie. 8 Wellen wurden bisher erhoben, mit jeweils 1 Jahr Abstand. Insgesamt gingen Antworten von 5.492 britischen Jugendlichen ein. @usociety 2/11
Ausgewertet wurden die Daten mittels Random Intercept Cross-Lagged Panel Models – nach RCTs die wohl beste Methode zur Bestimmung kausaler Effekte. Anhand von Specification Curve Analyses wurden insgesamt 2.268 Modelle berechnet - was die Robustheit der Ergebnisse erhöht. 3/11
Read 11 tweets

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