Social media linked to higher risk of depression in teen girls

Desiree Burns
January 6, 2019

They also completed the Moods and Feelings Questionnaire which is used to screen for symptoms of depression. Teenage girls were likewise increasingly influenced when it came to social media use and worries about self-perception, confidence and appearance, the specialists found, yet here the hole with young men was littler.

The researchers also found that 38 percent of heavy social media users who are online for five or more hours a day show signs of severe depression.

In a study analysing data from almost 11,000 young people in Britain, researchers found that 14-year-old girls were heavier users of social media, with two-fifths of them using it for more than three hours a day, compared with a fifth of boys.

Two-fifths of girls studied by UCL researchers have suffered online harassments or online bullying compared to one-quarter of boys, while 40 percent of girls, compared to 28 percent of boys, have suffered sleep loss because of online habits, according to the study.

Percentage of girls in a study who reported experiencing disrupted sleep, compared with 28 per cent of boys. Among teenagers who had perpetrated online bullying, 32.8 per cent of girls and 7.9 per cent of boys were depressed.

"The link between social media use and depressive symptoms was stronger for girls compared with boys". Social media use was proportionately related to less sleep, taking more time to fall asleep and more disruptions during sleep.

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The study, funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council, was published online in the journal EClinicalMedicine yesterday.

"Inevitably there is the chicken and egg question, as to whether more dissatisfied children, who to begin with are less pleased with their body shape and have fewer friends then spend more time on social media".

Shirley Cramer, Chief Executive, Royal Society of Public Health (RSPH) commented: "This important new research confirms that we need to increase awareness and understanding amongst parents, schools and policy makers about the role of social media in our young people's mental health, particularly taking into account the increased risks for girls". Stevens has suggested taxing companies to help the NHS cover the costs of treating soaring numbers of under-18s suffering problems such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders and psychosis, which Theresa May has made a personal priority.

The extent to which social media has embedded itself into the daily lives of people can not be understated. In fact, it made me feel like I was doing something wrong.

"I think it's important for young people to look up from their phones and focus more on the world around them, and the fantastic connections that they can make there".

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