(KFDX/KJTL) — Research shows a correlation between depression and heavy social media use. And the most vulnerable are teenagers.
In a digitally growing world, it can be hard to avoid social media and bright screens, but you might have to.
Clinical social worker Melissa Wilkes Donahue, says, “if someone’s on their phone, they’re not getting the physical activity that they would normally get. If they’re waiting on getting a text message or a phone call, then they’re not going to sleep as well.”
Donahue says research shows a correlation with social media use and depression among young people.
Donahue says, “I think it’s something that does affect everyone. Teenagers, they get it from both angles because they’re using it themselves but someone may be telling them hey you need to moderate your social media usage. But then they’re coming home and their parents are also doing the same thing.”
A 2017 study from the association for psychological science shows that depressive symptoms in 8th to 12th graders increased by 33% between 2010 and 2015.
Suicide rates also went up for girls by 65%, right around the time smartphones were introduced.
And watching the numbers may be contributing to the problem.
Donahue says, “when kids are feeling like they’re being compared to – ‘oh well you have 100 followers but I only have 20, then that is giving a metrics that they’re feeling that they’re being graded by. “
But the best and easiest solution? Cut it down.
Donahue says, “we use technology to our advantage but everything with moderation. Just making sure, technology isn’t a bad thing but are we using it for the right ways? Or are we letting it kind of take over our lives?”
Medical experts urge parents to monitor their children’s offline behavior as well as their online activity for any signs they’ve experienced something negative on social media.