Research: Social media may have benefits for kids

We’ve heard a lot about arguments against screen time for children – probably as many as parents who are looking for the best secondary Math tuition for their kids. Exposure to technology and mobile devices at a young age has been seen as the culprit to children’s attention-deficiency and lack of self control.

But a new research on brain development seems to suggest that there may be benefits for children who use social media. Children aged between nine and ten are found to have increased physical activity, less family conflict, and fewer sleep problems, as they have more social media use. The use of social media described in the study includes scrolling through Instagram and texting.


On the other hand, children who used more general media such as Internet, TV, and video games, were recorded to have worse sleep and more family conflict.

4,500 children and their parents participated in this study conducted by the National Institutes of Health. The objective of this research was to find out how brains of young people develop and how they go through adolescence and grow up to become adults.

One of the researchers, Dr. Martin Paulus, says, “There’s a lot of pre-existing biases that if we expose kids to media, something terrible is going to happen. What we show is that’s not the case.”

Paulus says that the objective of the research was to look for potential indicators of depression, anxiety, drug use, and other anti-social behaviours in the future of the subjects. Because children spend a lot of time in front of a screen, he shares that this is something worth investigating.

But this may not mean that parents should stop their children from watching TV and encourage them to use Instagram. This is because the researchers can only identify associations but are unable to prove causation at this point.