Saturday, 19 January, 2019

Higher use of social media linked to depression in girls, says study

Social Media-Depression Link In Teen Girls Social media is making teen girls depressed, study says
Ben Pena | 07 January, 2019, 17:42

Professor Yvonne Kelly, from University College London, and leader of this study said, "it seems, are struggling with these aspects of their lives more than boys, in some cases considerably so".

"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", Professor Kelly said.

The research is based on interviews with nearly 11,000 14-year-olds who are taking part in the Millennium Cohort Study, a major research project into children's lives. When it comes to body image and self-esteem, more girls were affected but the researchers noted that the gap was not as significant.

"For both girls and boys, the more social media they use, the more likely they are to have mental health problems, but not that many studies have been able to look for the explanations why", Kelly said.

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.

Rising suicide rates and depression in US teens and young adults have prompted researchers to ask a provocative question: Could the same devices that some people blame for contributing to tech-age angst also be used to detect it? Poor sleep has always been associated with depressive symptoms.

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Time spent on social media was related to involvement with online harassment which had direct and indirect associations (via sleep, poor body image and self-esteem) with depressive symptom scores. And where else are they likely to be bombarded with images of unattainable physiques than social media? While one in 10 boys do not use social media at all, only 4 per cent of girls said the same.

So what's the connection between social media use and depression?

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.

When examining differences between girls and boys who spend the same amount of time on social media, the researchers found the stronger association between social media use and depressive symptoms for girls. These asked about their social media use and assessed their mental health.

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. They noted than one in two girls and one in four boys had a disrupted sleep "most of the time".

"With an impact of social media on social life, the incidence of anxiety and depression is increasing among the adolescents".

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