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We're OK with social media being bad for us, study shows

A study shows that more than 90 percent of Chinese social media users know they could be harming themselves with extensive use, but they indulge anyway.

Jiangang Wang/Getty Images

We spend more and more of our lives on social media despite knowing the negative consequences that time brings, a study from China shows. 

Almost 90 percent of Chinese social media users said they knew extended use of social media could lead to adverse effects, including the worsening of eyesight, less sleep and loss of privacy, according to a study released Tuesday by Kantar

Unsurprisingly, social media in China is most popular among the younger crowd in their 20s, the study said. But this group is also most conscious of the adverse impact that could come with excessive social media use. Though they still continue to use social media, this group is most likely to take steps to curb the bad effects, like disabling notifications that would otherwise draw them back in. 

While global social media giants such as Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp have been banned in China by its "Great Firewall" internet censorship, local platforms are faring very well. Weibo reported last month that it counted 340 million monthly active users -- 10 million more users than Twitter has. WeChat, the Chinese version of WhatsApp, reported more than 900 million monthly active users.

Social media having a negative impact isn't just a thing in China. Researchers in April found that Facebook negatively impacted feelings of well-being, while Denmark's Happiness Institute last year found that abstaining from the social network caused spikes in reported happiness. 

It's not all bad though. Social media was criticised in the study for its effects on eyesight, sleep and concentration, but praised for helping users better understand their friends' lives and improving communication.

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