The Impact of Social Media Use on Sleep and Mental Health in Youth: a Scoping Review

Danny J. Yu, Yun Kwok Wing, Tim M. H. Li*, Ngan Yin Chan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose of Review: Social media use (SMU) and other internet-based technologies are ubiquitous in today’s interconnected society, with young people being among the commonest users. Previous literature tends to support that SMU is associated with poor sleep and mental health issues in youth, despite some conflicting findings. In this scoping review, we summarized relevant studies published within the past 3 years, highlighted the impacts of SMU on sleep and mental health in youth, while also examined the possible underlying mechanisms involved. Future direction and intervention on rational use of SMU was discussed.

Recent Findings: Both cross-sectional and longitudinal cohort studies demonstrated the negative impacts of SMU on sleep and mental health, with preliminary evidence indicating potential benefits especially during the COVID period at which social restriction was common. However, the limited longitudinal research has hindered the establishment of directionality and causality in the association among SMU, sleep, and mental health.

Summary: Recent studies have made advances with a more comprehensive understanding of the impact of SMU on sleep and mental health in youth, which is of public health importance and will contribute to improving sleep and mental health outcomes while promoting rational and beneficial SMU. Future research should include the implementation of cohort studies with representative samples to investigate the directionality and causality of the complex relationships among SMU, sleep, and mental health; the use of validated questionnaires and objective measurements; and the design of randomized controlled interventional trials to reduce overall and problematic SMU that will ultimately enhance sleep and mental health outcomes in youth.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-119
Number of pages16
JournalCurrent Psychiatry Reports
Volume26
Issue number3
Early online date8 Feb 2024
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

User-Defined Keywords

  • Adolescent
  • Mental health
  • Sleep
  • Social media use
  • Youth

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