Thursday September 19, 2019
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Social media use may affect teenagers’ real life relationship

The study showed that teenagers from families with a household income of less than $35,000 per year spent three more hours a day on screen media watching TV and online videos than teenagers in families with an annual income of more than $100,000

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The increased use of social media has led to many differences among teenagers.
The increased use of social media has led to many differences among teenagers. Wikimedia Commons
Even as effects of social media use on mental well-being is hotly debated, a new study says that spending too much time online can create problems in real life relationships with teenagers and vice versa.
Results of a survey conducted by Professor Candice Odgers of the University of California, Irvine and her colleagues showed teenagers from low-income families reported more physical fights, face-to-face arguments and trouble at school that spilt over from social media.
On the other hand, the researchers found that adolescents from economically disadvantaged households are also more likely to be bullied and victimised in cyberspace.
“The majority of young people appear to be doing well in the digital age, and many are thriving with the new opportunities that electronic media provides. But those who are already struggling offline need our help online too,” Odgers said.
In a commentary published in the journal Nature, Odgers argued that while smartphones should not be seen as universally bad, vulnerable teenagers experience greater negative effects on life online.
In her survey of North Carolina schoolchildren, 48 percent of 11-year-olds said they owned a mobile phone as did eighty-five percent of 14-year-olds.
In her survey of North Carolina schoolchildren, 48 percent of 11-year-olds said they owned a mobile phone as did eighty-five percent of 14-year-olds. Wikimedia Commons
“What we’re seeing now may be the emergence of a new kind of digital divide, in which differences in online experiences are amplifying risks among already vulnerable adolescents,” said Odgers, who is also a fellow in Canadian Institute for Advanced Research’s Child & Brain Development programme.
For the last 10 years, Odgers has been tracking adolescents’ mental health and their use of smartphones.
In her survey of North Carolina schoolchildren, 48 percent of 11-year-olds said they owned a mobile phone as did eighty-five percent of 14-year-olds.
The study showed that teenagers from families with a household income of less than $35,000 per year spent three more hours a day on screen media watching TV and online videos than teenagers in families with an annual income of more than $100,000.
The increased screen time could also convert to more problems offline, the findings showed.
“The evidence so far suggests that smartphones may serve as mirrors reflecting problems teens already have. Those from low-income families said that social media experiences more frequently spilt over into real life, causing more offline fights and problems at school,” Odgers said.

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Happy Couple’s Formula To Resolving Conflicts, Optimistically

While all couples tend to fight on issues like children, money, and in-laws, researchers say that what distinguishes happy couples from others

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Couples, Relationship, Conflicts, Resolve, Happy
The researchers also found that couples who were married longer reported fewer serious issues and argued less overall. Pixabay

While all couples tend to fight on issues like children, money, and in-laws, researchers say that what distinguishes happy couples from others is their approach to conflicts.

“Happy couples tend to take a solution-oriented approach to conflict and this is clear even in the topics that they choose to discuss,” said study lead author Amy Rauer, Associate Professor at the University of Tennessee in the US.

For the study, published in the journal Family Process, the research team observed two samples of heterosexual, mostly white, educated couples who described themselves as happily married.

Fifty-seven of the couples were in their mid- to late 30s and had been married for an average of nine years; 64 of the couples were in their early 70s and had been married for an average of 42 years.

The couples were asked to rank their most and least serious issues.

Couples, Relationship, Conflicts, Resolve, Happy
Marital conflict between a couple (representation). Pixabay

While intimacy, leisure, household, health, communication and money were the most serious for the older couples, couples in both samples ranked jealousy, religion and family as the least serious.

When researchers observed couples discussing marital problems, all couples focused on issues with clearer solutions, such as the distribution of household labour and how to spend leisure time.

The couples rarely chose to argue about issues that are more difficult to resolve, researchers said, adding that this strategic decision may be one of the keys to their marital success.

“Focusing on the perpetual, more-difficult-to-solve problems may undermine partners’ confidence in the relationship,” Rauer said.

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The study also found that focusing first on more solvable problems may be an effective way to build up both partners’ sense of security in the relationship.

“If couples feel that they can work together to resolve their issues, it may give them the confidence to move on to tackling the more difficult issues,” Rauer said.

The researchers also found that couples who were married longer reported fewer serious issues and argued less overall.

“Being able to successfully differentiate between issues that need to be resolved versus those that can be laid aside for now may be one of the keys to a long-lasting, happy relationship,” Rauer added. (IANS)