“This is not a trivial effect — being three times as large as the estimated adverse effect on wellbeing of being in a single parent household and is also larger than the effect of playing truant. Looking at the different aspects of life, the largest effects are for satisfaction with family and school attended,” the researchers concluded.
The study also found that female children suffer more adverse effects than male teens.
“We find that girls suffer more adverse effects than boys and in particular feel less happy with their appearance and the school they attend the more time they spend chatting on social networks,” the study noted.
The authors of the study speculated that this could be a result of the children having less free time to do other things to improve their happiness, or that they may have become victims of cyberbullying.
Another suggestion from researchers is that children who are active on social media may spend more time comparing their lives to those of others.
According to a study by Opinium released in 2014, 59 percent of children use social media by the time they are 10.
Researchers behind the current study suggest that parents may want to intervene and limit social media use to improve their child’s wellbeing.