In every era, a novel thing is subjected to criticism. And social media are not an exception.
A survey conducted by researchers at the University of Sheffield was published recently. According to them, social media such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook are harmful to youth's mental health.
The Guardian: Facebook and Twitter 'harm young people's mental health'
They examined several measures in thousands of participants. The result showed that social media users had less sleep and were more anxious. Girls also tended to have negative body image. They created a model formula to estimate the relationship between the time spent at social media and their life satisfaction. As a conclusion, some social media were harmful to the youth.
SSRN: Social Media Use and Children's Wellbeing
This paper is too difficult for me to examine its validity. Some economists were involved in this survey. On the other hand, psychiatric professionals were less engaged in this study. I think it is doubtful they could measure the participants' life satisfaction exactly.
In addition, there is a possibility of reverse causality. People who are indulged in social media tend to suffer from some kind of mental illness or dissatisfaction. Participants who use social media extremely much time can be addictive.
Indeed, some other researchers are doubtful to the validity of this study.
Furthermore, if social media is rather harmful to us, it is almost impossible to ban them from our daily life. Early exposure and education about how to treat them are essential.