Social networks: their use increases the risk of teenage depression

Girls tend to spend more time on social networks than boys and are more likely to suffer from depression. Explanations.

Social networks have become unavoidable for teenagers. Regularly, the scientific community is worried about their consequences on the development and psychic well-being of the youngest. A new study, conducted in particular at University College London, shows that their use is particularly dangerous for teenagers: social networks would increase the risk of depression for them. The conclusions of their research appeared in The Lancet.

The Millenium Cohort Study @CLScohorts reveals links between heavy #socialmedia use and depressive symptoms in teenagers.
Read more in @theipaper and @guardian //t.co/35gXoRXYhV

- UCL Institute of Education (@IOE_London) January 4, 2019

The dangers associated with time spent on social networks

Researchers used data from a large millenial study, the generation born in the 2000s. In total, they collected information about 11,000 14-year-olds and their use of social networks like Facebook, Instagram or WhatsApp. The risk of depression associated with the use of social networks was higher for girls: 40% of girls who spent more than 5 hours a day showed signs of depression against 15% of boys. Adolescent girls are more likely to consult social networks on a regular basis: 43.1% devote more than three hours a day, compared to only 21.9% of boys.

Disorders associated with the risk of depression

When teens spend a lot of time on social networks, they increase the risk of having poor sleep, poor self-esteem and their bodies. This can also increase the risk of depression. The researchers found that adolescent girls were more concerned by these disorders: 78.2% were not satisfied with their weight, compared to 68.3% of adolescents, and 12.8% had a poor self-esteem. themselves, whereas this concerns 8.9% of boys. Young girls are also more likely to suffer from sleep disorders.

Cyber-harassment affects girls more

A strong use of social networks can also increase the risk of suffering from drifts. Depressed girls are more often the victims of harassment on the networks: 35.6% of them say they have already suffered, against 17.4% of teenagers depressed. According to a study by Unicef, published in 2014, 12.5% ​​of 6-18 year olds have been victims of online harassment in France.

Video: Mayo Clinic Minute: Is a rise in teen depression linked to technology, social media? (November 2019).