Associations Between Time Spent Using Social Media and Internalizing and Externalizing Problems Among US Youth

In adjusted analyses, use of social media for more than 3 hours per day compared with no use remained significantly associated with internalizing problems alone (>3 to ≤6 hours: RRR, 1.60; 95% CI, 1.11-2.31; >6 hours: RRR, 1.78; 95% CI, 1.15-2.77) and comorbid internalizing and externalizing problems (>3 to ≤6 hours: RRR, 2.01; 95% CI, 1.51-2.66; >6 hours: RRR, 2.44; 95% CI, 1.73-3.43) but not externalizing problems alone.

Conclusions and Relevance Adolescents who spend more than 3 hours per day using social media may be at heightened risk for mental health problems, particularly internalizing problems.

Future research should determine whether setting limits on daily social media use, increasing media literacy, and redesigning social media platforms are effective means of reducing the burden of mental health problems in this population.