Young people more often feel positive than negative when using social media. This is the conclusion of a study by Project AWeSome (Adolescents, Wellbeing & Social Media) of the University of Amsterdam (UvA) among nearly a thousand fourteen and fifteen year olds.

Social media are ideally suited to mirror yourself to others, the researchers say. Yet less than half of the respondents (41 percent) say that they compare themselves 'sometimes' or 'more often' with others when they are on Whatsapp, Instagram or Snapchat.

In that respect the boys do differ from the girls. More than half of the girls (53 percent) sometimes compare to others, compared to 40 percent of the boys. 38 percent of girls say they compare how popular they are, compared to 28 percent of boys.

Positive feelings prevail

The requested young people felt more positive about social media than negative. Almost half of the young people (44 percent) say they look at themselves 'sometimes' to 'very often' more positively when they compare themselves with others online. 41 percent said they were inspired by it and 40 percent became proud of themselves.

Negative feelings also occur, but less often. For example, 19 percent become gloomy and 21 percent uncertain due to social media.

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Until late at night on the phone

The research also shows that as many as 80 percent of young people regularly go to social media if they should have done something else. "Young people realize well, if you ask that they use social media for too long or at times when they should actually do something else", the researchers say.

On weekdays, half of the young people (50 percent) still look on the phone after 10 p.m., 7 percent of them after midnight. More than half (59 percent) say they regularly spend more time on social media than they would like.