Teens spend 1200hrs a year on social media

Teenagers clock up 1200 hours a year on social media, while adults spend 950 hours a year glued to their screens, a new study has found.

Teenagers spend 1200 hours a year on social media, and most parents don't monitor their online use, an eye-opening new study has revealed.

But they're not the only ones glued to the flickering light of their screens, with adults spending 950 hours a year on Facebook, YouTube and other social media channels, according to a report from the Australian Psychological Society (APS).

This increasing reliance on social media has been linked to higher rates of cyber bullying and lower self esteem, despite most Australians reporting an overall positive experience of life online.

The Digital Me report, released on Saturday, surveyed 1020 adults and 156 teenagers on their use of social media and its connection to their wellbeing.

It found 60 per cent of parents never monitor their child's social media use.

Meanwhile, 15 per cent of teenagers reported being contacted by strangers daily, and nearly 10 per cent said they actively communicated with, or responded to, strangers daily.

APS spokeswoman and community psychologist Dr Lyn O'Grady says parents need to step into the digital lives of their children.

"Social media is an asset for teens... But they are less able to identify risks and more likely to act impulsively compared to adults," Dr O'Grady said on Saturday.

Parents don't need to "clamp down hard" lest teenagers find ways to outsmart them, but instead focus on open communication and modelling good behaviour through their own responsible social media use.

"[They] need boundaries, rules and the guidance of parents to help them make good decisions - just as they do offline," Dr O'Grady told AAP.

"If they become too controlling they lose that opportunity to influence."

But it's not just teens who struggle with social media, Dr O'Grady said.

Adults who were classed as heavy mobile phone users (54 per cent) were more likely to use their phones immediately before bed, despite research showing the negative impact on sleep.

They were also more prone to check social media within minutes of waking, while eating, in the company of others and for no particular purpose.

The constant connection was also linked to bullying, trolling and lower self esteem.

Among the adults surveyed, more Instagram users (21 per cent) than non-users (13 per cent) were classified as having low self esteem.

One in five adults said they experienced bullying on social media within the past year, making them more likely to report a lower satisfaction than those who hadn't experienced cyber bullying.

Among teenagers, 29 per cent had been bullied on social media within the past year, while 35 per cent said they had posted content on social media they later regretted.

Overall, both age groups of high mobile phone users said they felt pressure to look good on social media.

Source AAP

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