Social media has taken our society by storm. Between 2010 and 2015 the number of teens reporting feelings of depression surged to 33 percent in large national surveys. The troubling statistics have shown social media has been linked to negative outcomes in teenagers’ lives today. Depression from social media does not discriminate, those who are privileged, those who are less fortunate, those who are black, and those who are white are all targeted and susceptible. Teenagers in today’s society are much more likely to experience mental health issues than their millennial predecessors.
Decrease Feelings of Depression
All signs point to the screens. In a study preformed by the Pew Research Center, teens who spent five or more hours a day online were 71 percent more likely than those who spent less than an hour a day to have at least one suicide risk factor (depression, thinking about suicide, making suicide plan or attempting suicide). Spending more time on social media led to unhappiness, while unhappiness did not lead to more social media use. Time on social media takes time away from other activities that could be more beneficial to your child.
Promote Social Interaction
Children benefit from limited screen time immensely. Social interaction increases in person, which is one of the deepest wellsprings of human happiness. Feeling socially isolated is a major risk factor for suicide. In person activities benefit mental health, so it’s important to limit time spent on social media to promote this behavior.
A Good Night’s Sleep
It’s no shock that teens are spending less time sleeping. But, phones could be a culprit. It’s reported that teens who spend more time on their phones are more likely to not be getting enough sleep. Not getting enough sleep is also a major risk factor for depression. Getting the right amount of sleep benefits your heart and your mind. Teens who reported getting an adequate number of hours of sleep also reported an improvement in grades and sharpness in attention. They also reported lower stress levels and lower levels of anxiety. Limiting screen time for teens has numerous benefits that definitely need to be taken into consideration.
Depression and suicide have many causes such as family environments, genetic predisposition, and bullying. However, some teens become vulnerable who would otherwise not have had mental health issues. Teens can easily fall victim to feelings of depression due to too much screen time, not enough face-to-face social interaction, inadequate sleep, or a combination of all three.