Social media linked to increase in depression among Teens, Young Adults

Agency, 22 March : If you have children who are growing up with a cell phone in their hands, you’ve seen the behavior.

Your college student prefers exchanging a blizzard of texts on Snapchat over talking with family members around the dinner table, while the high schooler scrolls endlessly through Instagram feeds long after everyone else is asleep.

The love affair young people have with their smartphones is a hallmark of the iGen — as those born in the mid-1990s or later are known — and it’s a concern for those who believe the devices might be partly responsible for the growing incidence of major depression and suicide among that age group.

San Diego State University psychology professor Jean Twenge, PhD, who wrote a book about the iGen label she coined and specializes in the study of generational differences, says the possible nexus between digital media and depression boils down to “just the pure amount of time that teens spend online.”

The effects of that prolonged exposure, she thinks, are both social and physical.

“They spend less time sleeping and less time seeing friends in person,” Twenge told Healthline.

A recently published study she co-authored in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology reports a significant rise in the incidence of major depression among 12 to 25-year-olds in the United States.

The researchers say the trend started about seven years ago and they raised the possibility of a connection to the burgeoning number of people who own a smartphone.

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