Social media linked to higher risk of depression in teen girls

Social Media-Depression Link In Teen Girls

"These findings are highly relevant to current policy development on guidelines for the safe use of social media and calls on industry to more tightly regulate hours of social media use for young people", she said in a statement. The data, which came from the UK Millennium Cohort Study, included information from questionnaires on the teens' depressive symptoms and social media use. The findings were published in the journal EClinicalMedicine. As per The Guardian, Wessely also stated that it is still hard for the researchers to say "that social media use causes poor mental health, although the evidence is starting to point in that direction". They found that on average, girls had higher depressive symptom scores compared with boys.

The study was performed on 10,904 individuals aged 14 and above, to assess whether social media use leads to depressive symptoms in adolescents due to various factors such as online harassment, sleep deprivation, self-esteem and body image. About two-fifths of girls surveyed spend more than three hours per day on social media apps compared to only one-fifth of boys.

Shirley Cramer, chief executive of the Royal Society of Public Health, said more action was needed from government to understand the impact of social media.

"In the United Kingdom, girls tend to more likely use things like Snapchat or Instagram, which is more based around physical appearance, taking photographs and commenting on those photographs", she said.

For example, almost 40 percent of girls who spent more than five hours a day on apps such as Facebook, Snapchat and WhatsApp also showed signs of depression, compared with 14.5 percent of boys.

Disrupted sleep was accounted for by 40 percent of teenage girls contrasted and 28 percent of young men. Among teenagers who had perpetrated online bullying, 32.8 per cent of girls and 7.9 per cent of boys were depressed.

For example, while 7.5 per cent of 14-year-old girls and 4.3 per cent of 14-year-old boys have been the victim of online harassment, 35.6 per cent of girls who are depressed have experienced that - double the 17.4 per cent of boys who have done so. Among those with depression and low mood, 48.4 percent girls and 19.8 percent boys said that they got less than seven hours sleep. Social media use was proportionately related to less sleep, taking more time to fall asleep and more disruptions during sleep.

Shannon McLaughlin, 18, from Blackburn, explained how social media has harmed her mental health.

Among teens, "if their sleep is disturbed, and that's because they're using social media a lot, could you cut back on their social media and improve their sleep?"

"It's not social media use but excessive social media use that leads to depressive symptoms,"said psychiatrist Dr. Vivian Kapil". This was in comparison with teenagers who used it for one to three hours/day.

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.

"There are so many ways in which social media is important and has positive features, but there's also ways in which social media can replace social support and connection from people you are living with in person", he said.

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