A new report has linked more mental distress in teens to social media. National surveys have shown that mental health issues have risen significantly over the last decade due to social media use.
This new report in the Canadian Medical Association Journal what many parents have feared for a long time. It finds that more social media use has been linked to higher rates of distress, self-harm and suicide. It found that more than two hours of social media use a day is associated with higher rates of depression and suicidal thoughts in girls, according to CBS News.
In one report, young girls reported negative feelings after just 10 minutes of scrolling through Facebook.
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CBS reported, according to the study, teens who spent less time socializing in person are more vulnerable. They also had easy access to information about how to commit suicide online increases risk.
NBC News reported that the survey showed no corresponding increase was not oserved in older adults.
“We found a substantial increase in major depression or suicidal thoughts, psychological distress, and more attempted suicides after 2010, versus the mid-2000s, and that increase was by far the largest in adolescents and young adults,” said lead author Jean Twenge, author of the book “iGen” and professor of psychology at San Diego State University. “These trends are weak or non-existent among adults 26 years and over, suggesting a generational shift in mood disorders instead of an overall increase across all ages.”
The report also found that teens aren’t sleeping as much as previous generations. This also may play a role in the rise of mental health problems they are facing. Sleep deprivation affects mood and is associated with anxiety and depression, research shows, according to NBC News.
“Teenagers definitely use social media in a way that affects their sleep,” said Fobian. “They are exposed to light right before bed and that light exposure alone delays their sleep by 30 minutes. It also affects their social interactions with others.”
According to researchers, parents should focus on talking to their kids about social media and the risks that come along with it, rather than simply banning it. They say parents need to focus on limiting their kid’s screen time, as well as their own, in order to set a good example for their kids to follow.
It seems like we could all benefit from a social media break now and then, and making sure we enjoy it in moderation.
For immediate help if you are in a crisis, call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All calls are confidential.