Social media has, without question, fundamentally altered the way humans interact with each other, yet a new study highlights a direct link between users over the age of 30 and a positive correlation between feeling prone to a nervous breakdown while users under 30 had a negative one. Conducted by Temple University's Klien College of Media and Communication, Professors Bruce Hardy and Jessica Castonguay examined data collected from a survey conducted in 2016. Their research can be found in the current issue of the peer-reviewed academic journal, "Computers in Human Behavior", which was first published in 1985. Of particular importance in the research was the overall suggestion that Millenials are better able to cope with social media as a result of their being exposed to it – either in limited or extensive circumstances – during their youth. As the age divide widens, however, it follows that those who are more likely to express symptoms of anxiety-related feelings had no exposure or culture of social media during their childhood.
Social media, in and of itself, poses a number of risks for users of all ages. Aside from the more scandalous revelations in recent weeks, additional issues such as cyberbullying, stalking, impersonation, hacking and other more readily visible problems are often focused upon in the general news. More complex psychological problems, on the other hand, have been less so in part due to mixed results from past research. This new study is likely to spur on related investigations that will seek to further understand the underlying damage that social media can cause to users' well being. While the idea that those who grew up in a time period in which social media did not exist would be more likely to suffer anxiety-related stress may not in and of itself seem surprising, evidence-based empirical research is a key factor in tackling challenging problems and seeking to provide better assistance and advice to those who may need it.
With respect to psychological health on the whole, it remains to be seen as to just what conclusion a general scientific consensus will bring to the more potentially problematic issue that technology may play in early childhood development. There is a great division in the field of parenting, for example, with regards to giving products such as a tablet or smartphone to a small child. Some feel such overstimulation may lead to an increase in the likelihood of developing ADHD or foster the belief that life itself can be "reset" if a mistake is made – in a game for example – whereas others believe that the introduction of technology facilitates creativity and a head start in the modern world. At the very least, according to this study, early social media usage may not be such a bad thing.