To read this content please select one of the options below:

Young users' social media addiction: causes, consequences and preventions

Hosam Al-Samarraie (School of Design, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK) (Centre for Instructional Technology and Multimedia, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia)
Kirfi-Aliyu Bello (Centre for Instructional Technology and Multimedia, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia) (Universal Basic Education Commission, Abuja, Nigeria)
Ahmed Ibrahim Alzahrani (Computer Science Department, Community College, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)
Andrew Paul Smith (Centre for Occupational and Health Psychology, School of Psychology, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK)
Chikezie Emele (School of Media and Performing Arts, Coventry University, Coventry, UK)

Information Technology & People

ISSN: 0959-3845

Article publication date: 18 November 2021

Issue publication date: 7 December 2022




Social media addiction has been an ongoing topic of debate for platform developers, well-being and mental health experts. There is a limited understanding of the factors leading to the addiction of young social media users, the consequences of experiencing addiction, and the measures/mechanisms used by parents and platform providers to limit/prevent problematic social media use amongst young users. This systematic review aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the literature concerning these issues.


The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews (PRISMA) protocol was used to evaluate and present the results. A total of 45 studies were screened and independently reviewed against predetermined criteria for eligibility.


The results revealed four categories of young users' addiction to social media networks (social, technological, behavioural and mental). Several prevention approaches directed at parents and platform providers were discussed.


This study offers important insights for health policy makers, platform providers, parents and researchers on designing interventions addressing social media addiction amongst young users. It also provides an in-depth understanding of the conceptualization of social media addiction and suggestions on possible actions to prevent it.



This work was funded by the Researchers Supporting Project (RSP-2020/157), King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Conflict of interest: On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


Al-Samarraie, H., Bello, K.-A., Alzahrani, A.I., Smith, A.P. and Emele, C. (2022), "Young users' social media addiction: causes, consequences and preventions", Information Technology & People, Vol. 35 No. 7, pp. 2314-2343.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles