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The Mental Toll of Being Connected

What kind of impact is social media having on adolescent health?

The Mental Toll of Being Connected

Key messages:

  • Adolescence is a time when young people establish habits, certain health behaviours and lifestyles that shape later life outcomes, however, there is not a wide range of research on adolescents’ health.

  • The number of adolescents dealing with mental illness, specifically depression, is growing. Depression at this young age can have implications on one’s future mental and physical health.

  • Social media use among adolescents has resulted in higher levels of unhappiness, anxiety and depression among young people.

  • Students should learn in school how to navigate social media, and be educated about mental health and how to recognise when either themselves or someone they know is suffering. Awareness also needs to be drawn to how they can seek support.

  • More research focused on adolescent health and mental health is needed to understand the long-term impact of health in adolescence and to contribute to the establishment of preventative programmes to help reduce long-term costs.


Balbo, N. (2018): The Mental Toll of Being Connected. What kind of impact is social media having on adolescent health? Population & Policy Compact 19, Berlin: Max Planck Society/Population Europe.