Social media addicts are more likely to put off starting a family

A study from the University of Helsinki claims that women who use social media extensively or are very work-oriented often postpone having children as they do not want it to affect their lifestyle.

While the spread of social media has previously been suggested as a cause of declining fertility rates, this is the first time the link has been proven, researchers say.

Researchers at the Collegium for Advanced Studies at the University of Helsinki conducted the study to find out why the birth rate in Finland has dropped significantly from 1.87 children per woman in 2010 to just 1.35 children per woman as of 2019.

The study found three main reasons given by women for not having children, including uncertainty about their life situation, a desire to maintain a certain lifestyle and the belief that there are already enough children in the country.

“Some adults did not want to change their current lifestyle, preferring to do other things in their lives rather than have a family,” said researcher Katerina Golovina.

The study also revealed that women who used social media extensively and were more work-oriented were significantly more likely to be childless compared to those who used social media infrequently and those who used social media frequently were likely to they cite lifestyle as a reason for not having children.

“It has been publicly speculated that the spread of social media in the 2010s would be linked to declining birth rates. Here, we show for the first time with survey data that there is a connection,” said Anna Rotkirch, Director of Research at the Family Federation of Finland.

Finland is not the only country in the European Union to see a drop in both rates, as countries such as Italy and Spain have experienced low birth rates during the coronavirus pandemic, with Spain having just 1.19 births per woman in 2020, while Italy recorded 1.17 births per woman among Italians. citizens and 1.24 births per woman for all residents of the country.

In France, which has one of the highest birth rates in the European Union, about a third of women of reproductive age said they never wanted to have children in their lifetime, citing a variety of reasons, including climate change.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email ctomlinson(at)

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