It claims online activity has only a “trivial” effect on their happiness, flying in the face of research and the prevailing opinion of many parents.
The survey of 12000 teenagers suggests that less than 1% of adolescent unhappiness can be blamed on the use of sites such as Facebook.
Lead co-author Professor Andrew Przybylski, of the University of Oxford, said society should “retire the notion” of focusing on the amount of time which young users spend online.
Instead, research should examine if particular aspects of online behaviour had negative impacts on mental health, such as looking at potentially harmful pages or posts. The study said leading social media companies had data which could shed light on the problem but were reluctant to share it with scientists.