What this study brings to the table is a conceptually-driven approach that details not just whether, but how certain forms of media use impact teenage mood, said Mark Reinecke, PhD, of the Child Mind Institute, who was not involved with this study.

Reinecke cautioned against assuming causation in this study. For example, social media could be causing or mediating increases in depression, while an adolescent’s quality of friendships or family relationships could be serving as “buffers” to the effects of media on mood, he said.

“With this in mind, it would be interesting to extend this study by looking at social media and mood among clinically depressed youth, to examine the specific types of social media they’re selecting, and to look at relations between social media exposure and the range of factors which influence a teen’s mood,” Reinecke told MedPage Today in an email. “It appears social media can have an effect. It’s just one part, though, of a teens life.”