Sociology Students Wonder: What Causes Anxiety In Students?

Shelby Nichols, reporter

Students all across the world suffer anxiety from multiple and often unknown causes. Since signs that  students have anxiety are a lack to socialize and feeling withdrawn from reality, patterns also resulting from extensive social media use, a group of Lakeview students wondered if social media use factored in to the increasing anxiety. To figure out if their hypothesis was true that social media was the leading cause of anxiety in students, Sean Ruane’s sociology class took a further look.

Sociology students invited other students at Lakeview High School to participate in a survey to help determine the leading cause of anxiety at our high school, specifically. Because social media usage has been growing rapidly among students while anxiety rates are also increasing, social media usage potentially looks like the main cause of this anxiety, right? Well, not so fast. With results of the survey in, school work takes the win as the leading cause of anxiety among students at Lakeview High School, but social media still plays a crucial role.

Some very interesting results regarding the students at Lakeview include that females typically use their phones more than males do, although more males report feeling anxiety while using social media.

The most common social media platform among Lakeview students is instagram, which females report typically causes them to become more stressed about the amount of likes they receive. A shocking 68 percent of students feel angry at what others are posting on social media, cutting a clear pathway for a very negative effect.

An even scarier result revealed 96 percent of students use just social media more than one hour a day, not even including video games and phone games. An astonishing 16 percent report using social media more than six hours a day.With this much screen usage in kids and the added stress of always comparing your life to others, no wonder anxiety is rising in students.

Furthermore, Lakeview students report feeling more anxiety in school than doing schoolwork, meaning students feel more anxious while socializing in school.

In addition, the survey found that 96.2 percent of Lakeview students check their phone at least once while they are studying or doing homework.

While the proposed hypothesis was incorrect for Ruane’s class, the sociology students concluded the leading cause of anxiety among youth today is not social media, but school work and school itself.

Students reported feeling more stress and anxiety while in school and doing school work than they reported feeling while using social media. The sociology students discussed that this finding could be a potential reason why so many people use social media. Perhaps respondents saw social media as an outlet to avoid social interactions in person. 

Ruane stated that he proposed the assignment because he personally wanted to “connect with something relevant among teens and give his sociology class some experience creating and interpreting surveys.”

Ruane admits, “there were a few things that were somewhat surprising,” regarding the results of survey.

From a student’s point of view, senior Sydney Matteotti feels the results were “very accurate to represent our school as a whole, but overall, anxiety levels were pretty high for people in school.”

In addition, senior Antonio Campolito feels “the results of the survey really opened my eyes about the use and the impact of social media among high school students.”

Finding answers to questions often raises new questions. So what can we do as a school community to help this problem? Students are being targeted by social media and the more attention drawn to it, the higher the anxiety. Finding methods to reduce this anxiety among Lakeview High School students should be a future goal.