Social media linked to higher risk of depression in teen girls

Faith Castro
January 7, 2019

Yvonne Kelly, a professor at University College London's Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care who co-led the research, urged parents and policymakers to note its results.

The new study serves as "a good addition to the literature on this important topic", said Dr. Anne Glowinski, professor of child psychiatry at Washington University in St. Louis, who was not involved in the research.

The team interviewed around 11,000 14 year olds who were part of the Millennium Cohort Study.

Compared with boys, girls are more likely to have low self-esteem and body weight dissatisfaction, and be unhappy with their appearance, said the study.

The data showed that for teens using social media for three to five hours, 26% of girls and 21% of boys had depressive symptom scores higher than those who used social media for only about one to three hours a day. Only 4% of girls reported not using social media compared to 10% of boys. For girls, greater daily hours of social media use corresponded to a stepwise increase in depressive symptoms.

The researchers "still can not definitely say that social media use causes poor mental health, although the evidence is starting to point in that direction", The Guardian quoted Wessely as saying. While just 5.4 per cent of girls and 2.7 per cent of boys overall said they slept for seven hours or less, 48.4 per cent of girls with low mood and 19.8 per cent of such boys said the same. How Internet Use Affect The Emotional Well-Being Of Teenagers As researchers delve even deeper into the case, they found that more girls have experienced online harassment or cyberbullying than boys. These asked about their social media use and assessed their mental health. As adolescents start excess use of social media, their social interaction time gets reduced and they spend more time alone. Social media could be blamed for the sleep disruption say the authors of the study.

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"It's not social media use but excessive social media use that leads to depressive symptoms,"said psychiatrist Dr. Vivian Kapil".

Depression linked to social media is nearly twice as high among teenage girls compared to boys, according to research by University College London (UCL).

"For me, the sleep one is probably the most actionable in some ways", said Maslow, who was not involved in the research.

He added that he often points his patients' families to the American Academy of Pediatrics for tips on how to establish healthy social media habits in the home.

Social media and internet companies have been criticised for not acknowledging the impact their services have on the lives of young people.

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