Higher use of social media linked to depression in girls

Higher use of social media linked to depression in girls

Higher use of social media linked to depression in girls

Yvonne Kelly, a professor at the University College London's Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care who co-led the research, urged parents and policymakers to note its results.

For the study, researchers analyzed data on 10,904 14-year-olds who were born between 2000 and 2002 in the United Kingdom.

Teenage girls are twice as likely as boys to show depressive symptoms linked to social media use - mainly due to online harassment and disturbed sleep, as well as poor body image and lower selfesteem, researchers said yesterday.

The study suggests that 40% of girls had experienced online harassment or bullying compared to 25% of boys, while 40% of girls reported their sleep often being disrupted compared to 28% of boys. They found that only 5.4 percent of girls and 2.7 percent of boys slept for seven or less hours per night. "Girls, it seems, are struggling with these aspects of their lives more than boys, in some cases considerably so".

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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?

The study revealed that the magnitude of depressive symptoms was larger among girls than boys. The participants provided information on their social media habits, sleep patterns, body image, and experience of online harassment.

The use of social media apps such as Instagram and Snapchat might be causing teenagers, especially girls, to experience depressive symptoms.

The findings also showed that 12% of light social media users and 38% of heavy social media users (five or more hours a day) showed signs of having more severe (clinically relevant) depression.

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Girls were found more likely to have low self-esteem and body weight dissatisfaction and be unhappy with their appearance, than boys.

In other words, those experiences were tied to frequent social media use, which means they could play a role in the depressive symptoms. Among teenagers who had perpetrated online bullying, 32.8 per cent of girls and 7.9 per cent of boys were depressed. These asked about their social media use and assessed their mental health.

"It's not social media use but excessive social media use that leads to depressive symptoms,"said psychiatrist Dr. Vivian Kapil".

"For me, the sleep one is probably the most actionable in some ways", said Maslow, who was not involved in the research.

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"There are so many ways in which social media is important and has positive features, but there's also ways in which social media can replace social support and connection from people you are living with in person", he said.

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