More screen time not causing depression among teenagers: Research


Contrary to the common criticism that more usage of social media is causing depression among the teenagers, a recent study has found that the amount of time spent on social media was not directly increasing anxiety or depression among the youngsters.

The study was done against the backdrop of increasing screen time by the teenagers. The amount of time teenagers spend on social networking sites has risen 62.5 percent since 2012 and continues to grow. The average time teenagers spent on social media is around 2.6 hours per day, as per the data available for the last year. There is wide concern that this is causing depression among the teens. The research was led by led by Sarah Coyne, a professor of family life at Brigham Young University.

“We spent eight years trying to really understand the relationship between time spent on social media and depression for developing teenagers,” Coyne said about her study published in Computers in Human Behavior. “If they increased their social media time, would it make them more depressed? Also, if they decreased their social media time, were they less depressed? The answer is no. We found that time spent on social media was not what was impacting anxiety or depression.”

The research said mental health is a multi-process syndrome where no one stressor is likely the cause of depression or anxiety. This study shows that it is not merely the amount of time spent on social media that’s leading to an increase in depression or anxiety among adolescents.

However, Coyne has urged to be an active user instead of a passive user. Instead of just scrolling, actively comment, post and like other content. Limit social media use at least an hour before falling asleep. Getting enough sleep is one of the most protective factors for mental health. Be intentional. Look at your motivations for engaging with social media in the first place, researchers suggested.


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