Mental and psychological health among teenagers is often a sensitive issue and part of what makes it so is due to society’s inability to handle people with problems in these health aspects. Unfortunately, it seems to only be getting worse and researchers might have found one of the big culprits, especially when it comes to teen depression and suicide: social media.
In case you haven’t noticed yet, there are actually more people right now stricken with depression and suicide than over the past decades. What’s worse is that a big percentage of those are teenagers. In fact, there has been a recent spike in teen depression and suicide cases, particularly Americans aged 12 to 25. That means teenagers are worse off mentally and psychologically than those in the previous generations.
The study was conducted by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health which compiled 200,000 teens’ answers based on a survey. The result? There was a substantial increase in teen depression and suicide post-2010 compared to earlier.
Jean Twenge, lead author of the study and a professor of psychology at San Diego State University claims that social media is the likelier cause instead of just the usual genetics or economic influences. It just so happens that nearly all teenagers in the world use social media, even more so than adults.
“Recently, there’s been a number of studies showing that those who spend more time on digital media are more likely to be depressed and unhappy,” recalled Twenge. It also may not solely be due to the content in social media as the blue light from electronic screens can interfere with sleep onset and melatonin; bad sleeping habits or lack of sleep can cause depression, anxiety, and suicidality.
Hence, it is important that parents regulate or even restrict the social media or phone usage of children and teens. More face-to-face communication and actual socialization among friends and family are also encouraged.
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