New research suggests different ways of using social media are linked to different levels of risk for young people.

Experts at the University of Auckland have studied survey results from over 40,000 university students in Norway.

The students spent on average about 7 hours’ worth of screen time per day.

Students reported on their use of social media for seven specific activities, which were categorised into active and passive non-social use, passive social use, active public social, and active private social use. The team also considered students’ tendency for negative social comparisons on social media.

They found that that using social media for private conversations was linked to lower risk of self-harm and suicidal behaviour.

However, public use (like posting updates and photos) was linked to higher risk - as was negatively comparing oneself to other people.

The study is accessible here.