Wednesday, May 15, 2024

David Farrar: The impact of social media on girls

Jon Haidt writes:

We are now 11 years into the largest epidemic of teen mental illness on record. As the CDC’s recent report showed, most girls are suffering, and nearly a third have seriously considered suicide. Why is this happening, and why did it start so suddenly around 2012?4

There is one giant, obvious, international, and gendered cause: Social media. Instagram was founded in 2010. The iPhone 4 was released then too—the first smartphone with a front-facing camera. In 2012 Facebook bought Instagram, and that’s the year that its user base exploded. By 2015, it was becoming normal for 12-year-old girls to spend hours each day taking selfies, editing selfies, and posting them for friends, enemies, and strangers to comment on, while also spending hours each day scrolling through photos of other girls and fabulously wealthy female celebrities with (seemingly) vastly superior bodies and lives. The hours girls spent each day on Instagram were taken from sleep, exercise, and time with friends and family. What did we think would happen to them?

The Collaborative Review doc that Jean Twenge, Zach Rausch and I have put together collects more than a hundred correlational, longitudinal, and experimental studies, on both sides of the question. Taken as a whole, it shows strong and clear evidence of causation, not just correlation. There are surely other contributing causes, but the Collaborative Review doc points strongly to this conclusion: Social Media is a Major Cause of the Mental Illness Epidemic in Teen Girls.

This is startling, but not surprising. A graphical representation shows:

Hat Tip: MBS  - Click graph to view

David Farrar runs Curia Market Research, a specialist opinion polling and research agency, and the popular Kiwiblog where this article was sourced. He previously worked in the Parliament for eight years, serving two National Party Prime Ministers and three Opposition Leaders.


Reggie said...

Yes shocking statistics. Suggest watch Prof Jonathan Haidt on You Tube for some excellent insights into this topic.

Anonymous said...

Wow, great work as usual. Eye opening for sure. But little will change.

We will position a hone hatu or what ever it's called now days at the bottom of the cliff.

Speaking of st johns....Oh no, wait, as the TV media showed the electric ambulances don't have the range so forget about least they were at pains to make the point that they were an inclusive organization.....very woke of them. I couldn't care less who turns up to save me as long as they are competent. They appear to be missing this point now as they shift focus on having enough disabled, Trans, maori and God knows what else in their ranks....that's how it appears to me.

Anonymous said...

I would add that the 'phenomenon' of young females and the over use of mobile phones, for other reasons than verbal and/or text communication, is not new.

In hindsight, it is an activity that has occurred for many years, which also allowed the onset of 'influencers', mostly attractive, active, females from family backgrounds that had wealth & education, who found 'a way of developing thru the medium of cell phones, a way to both influence and make money'. Not all of the information given, being accurate.

Also thru cell phones, and the extensive use, by females from as young a 12 years, the onset of 'a bullying culture', that sadly in some instances had the 'recipient of that cell phone bullying' commit suicide.

Sadly, in my former employment, having had to deal with the end result. And investigations showed, that many had been aware of what was taking place.

Anonymous said...

2012 was a turning point but I believe we have reached a new one now. Recently I've been caught by AI-generated deep fake videos on YouTube. This is what's coming next.

I'm thinking about quitting the internet or at least putting some very tight boundaries on my use of it. The sooner you get off the train the easier it will be. There is no defence against AI manipulations except not exposing yourself to it.