IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/shf/wpaper/2016011.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Social Media Use and Children’s Wellbeing

Author

Listed:
  • Emily McDool

    () (Department of Economics, University of Sheffield)

  • Phillip Powell

    () (Department of Economics, University of Sheffield)

  • Jennifer Roberts

    () (Department of Economics, University of Sheffield)

  • Karl Taylor

    () (Department of Economics, University of Sheffield)

Abstract

Childhood circumstances and behaviours have been shown to have important persistent effects in later life. One aspect of childhood that has changed dramatically in the past decade, and is causing concern among policy makers and other bodies responsible for safeguarding children, is the advent of social media, or online social networking. This research explores the effect of children’s digital social networking on their subjective wellbeing. We use a large representative sample of 10-15 year olds over the period 2010 to 2014 from the UK Household Longitudinal Study, and estimate the effect of time spent chatting on social websites on a number of outcomes which reflect how these children feel about different aspects of their life, specifically: school work; appearance; family; friends; school attended; and life as a whole. We deal with the potential endogeneity of social networking via an instrumental variables approach using information on broadband speeds and mobile phone signal strength published by Ofcom. Our results suggest that spending more time on social networks reduces the satisfaction that children feel with all aspects of their lives, except for their friendships; and that girls suffer more adverse effects than boys. As well as addressing policy makers’ concerns about the effects of digital technology on children, this work also contributes to wider debates about the socioeconomic consequences of the internet and digital technologies more generally, a debate which to date has largely been based on evidence from outside of the UK.

Suggested Citation

  • Emily McDool & Phillip Powell & Jennifer Roberts & Karl Taylor, 2016. "Social Media Use and Children’s Wellbeing," Working Papers 2016011, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:shf:wpaper:2016011
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/economics/research/serps/articles/2016_011
    File Function: First version, December 2016
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. David Johnston & Carol Propper & Stephen Pudney & Michael Shields, 2014. "Child Mental Health And Educational Attainment: Multiple Observers And The Measurement Error Problem," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(6), pages 880-900, September.
    2. Brown, Sarah & Taylor, Karl, 2008. "Bullying, education and earnings: Evidence from the National Child Development Study," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 387-401, August.
    3. Anne Case & Christina Paxson, 2011. "The Long Reach of Childhood Health and Circumstance: Evidence from the Whitehall II Study," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(554), pages 183-204, August.
    4. David Card & Alexandre Mas & Enrico Moretti & Emmanuel Saez, 2012. "Inequality at Work: The Effect of Peer Salaries on Job Satisfaction," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(6), pages 2981-3003, October.
    5. AndrewE. Clark & Claudia Senik, 2010. "Who Compares to Whom? The Anatomy of Income Comparisons in Europe," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(544), pages 573-594, May.
    6. Antoci, Angelo & Sabatini, Fabio & Sodini, Mauro, 2012. "See you on Facebook! A framework for analyzing the role of computer-mediated interaction in the evolution of social capital," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 41(5), pages 541-547.
    7. AndrewE. Clark & Claudia Senik, 2010. "Who Compares to Whom? The Anatomy of Income Comparisons in Europe," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(544), pages 573-594, May.
    8. Fabio Sabatini & Francesco Sarracino, 2015. "Keeping up with the e-Joneses: Do online social networks raise social comparisons?," Papers 1507.08863, arXiv.org.
    9. Luigino Bruni & Luca Stanca, 2006. "Income Aspirations, Television and Happiness: Evidence from the World Values Survey," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(2), pages 209-225, May.
    10. Hyll, Walter & Schneider, Lutz, 2013. "The causal effect of watching TV on material aspirations: Evidence from the “valley of the innocent”," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 37-51.
    11. James J. Heckman, 2008. "Schools, Skills, And Synapses," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 46(3), pages 289-324, July.
    12. Erzo F. P. Luttmer, 2005. "Neighbors as Negatives: Relative Earnings and Well-Being," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 963-1002.
    13. Steffen Lohmann, 2015. "Information technologies and subjective well-being: does the Internet raise material aspirations?," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(3), pages 740-759.
    14. Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J., 1996. "Satisfaction and comparison income," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 359-381, September.
    15. van Praag, B. M. S. & Frijters, P. & Ferrer-i-Carbonell, A., 2003. "The anatomy of subjective well-being," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 29-49, May.
    16. Stock, James H & Wright, Jonathan H & Yogo, Motohiro, 2002. "A Survey of Weak Instruments and Weak Identification in Generalized Method of Moments," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(4), pages 518-529, October.
    17. Frey, Bruno S. & Benesch, Christine & Stutzer, Alois, 2007. "Does watching TV make us happy?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 283-313, June.
    18. Paul Frijters & David W. Johnston & Michael A. Shields, 2014. "Does Childhood Predict Adult Life Satisfaction? Evidence from British Cohort Surveys," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 124(580), pages 688-719, November.
    19. Nattavudh Powdthavee, 2012. "Resilience to Economic Shocks and the Long Reach of Childhood Bullying," CEP Discussion Papers dp1173, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    20. Bhashkar Mazumder & Jonathan M. V. Davis, 2013. "Parental Earnings And Children'S Well-Being: An Analysis Of The Survey Of Income And Program Participation Matched To Social Security Administration Earnings Data," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(3), pages 1795-1808, July.
    21. repec:pri:rpdevs:case_and_paxson_whitehall_jan_2011 is not listed on IDEAS
    22. Scott Wallsten, 2013. "What Are We Not Doing When We're Online," NBER Working Papers 19549, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    23. David Roodman, 2011. "Fitting fully observed recursive mixed-process models with cmp," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 11(2), pages 159-206, June.
    24. Paul Anand & Laurence Roope, 2016. "The development and happiness of very young children," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 47(4), pages 825-851, December.
    25. Sabatini, Fabio & Sarracino, Francesco, 2016. "Keeping up with the e-Joneses: Do Online Social Networks Raise Social Comparisons?," ET: Economic Theory 234936, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM).
    26. McBride, Michael, 2001. "Relative-income effects on subjective well-being in the cross-section," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 251-278, July.
    27. Sabatini, Fabio & Sarracino, Francesco, 2015. "Online social networks and trust," MPRA Paper 62506, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    28. Tine Louise Mundbjerg Eriksen & Helena Skyt Nielsen & Marianne Simonsen, 2014. "Bullying in Elementary School," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 49(4), pages 839-871.
    29. repec:pri:cheawb:case_and_paxson_whitehall_jan_2011 is not listed on IDEAS
    30. repec:pri:cheawb:case_and_paxson_whitehall_jan_2011.pdf is not listed on IDEAS
    31. John F. Helliwell & Haifang Huang, 2013. "Comparing the Happiness Effects of Real and On-line Friends," NBER Working Papers 18690, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    32. J. Solnick, Sara & Hemenway, David, 1998. "Is more always better?: A survey on positional concerns," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 373-383, November.
    33. Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada, 2005. "Income and well-being: an empirical analysis of the comparison income effect," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 997-1019, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:respol:v:47:y:2018:i:1:p:308-325 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Fulvio Castellacci & Henrik Schwabe, 2018. "Internet Use and the U-shaped relationship between Age and Well-being," Working Papers on Innovation Studies 20180215, Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    digital society; social media; wellbeing; children;

    JEL classification:

    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:shf:wpaper:2016011. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jacob Holmes). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/desheuk.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.