Social Media Use Linked to Risky Decision-Making and Behaviors in Kids, Major Study Shows

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Further evidence is now emerging about the risks of allowing children to use social media.

A study published last week in The British Medical Journal found the use of social media platforms is linked to “risky health behaviours” in young people.

Examples of such behaviors include increased alcohol consumption, drug-taking, anti-social behavior, sex and gambling, according to a BMJ news release Wednesday.

“Exposure to risky health behaviour content on social media such as alcohol advertising had the strongest evidence of harm, particularly in relation to alcohol use and unhealthy eating,” the release said.

“The researchers say further research is needed to establish causality, understand effects on health inequalities, and determine which aspects of social media are most harmful,” it continued.

Among the study’s key findings were that using social media daily increases young people’s risk of alcohol consumption by 48 percent, drug use by 28 percent and tobacco use by 85 percent.

Furthermore, frequent social media use was found to increase the likelihood of engaging in “risky sexual behaviours such as sexting, transactional sex, and inconsistent condom use” by 77 percent and anti-social behavior by 73 percent. It also triples the probability of gambling.

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