Is All Screen Time Harmful to Teen Mental Health?

Researchers suggests that social media could induce feelings of inadequacy

Researchers suggests that social media could induce feelings of inadequacy Credit PA

Boers and his team noted that this study did not evaluate specific forms of social media or television and that certain genres or mediums may have differing associations with depression.

The work also explored whether social take network time that could be spent on other activities which can reduce symptoms of depression (e.g., sports), but it turned out that it is not connected.

Thus, the more time adolescents spend on social media and in front of the television, the more severe their symptoms of depression become. Video game use slightly decreased while time spent on computers didn't meaningfully change across the study.

The study tested three explanatory hypotheses: Displacement, Upward Social Comparison, and Reinforcing Spirals.

"What we found over and over was that the effects of social media were much larger than any of the other effects for the other types of digital screen time", said Patricia Conrod, the study's team leader and University of Montreal psychiatry professor. Respectively develop low self-esteem.

She advised parents to talk to their children to help them understand that there's a tendency for people to post only favourable images of themselves online - an issue she warned could get worse with the rise of filters and artificial intelligence that will help posters eliminate any of their negative attributes.

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These findings come from a comprehensive new study by the University of Montreal and are reported in JAMA Pediatrics.

"If one is being exposed to the same content over and over and over again, that spiral or loop maintains itself", said Boers. While our results are based on observational research design, the nature of statistical approach that we used to test possible causal effects robustly controlled for any potential common underlying vulnerability to high levels of screen time and depression.

Spending too much time on social media or watching television is linked to increased symptoms of depression among teens, a new study suggests.

Martin Gignac - who was not involved in the study, but is the chief of child and adolescent psychiatry at the Montreal Children's Hospital - said that in recent years, there has been an increase in emergency-room visits at the hospital involving teenagers engaging in suicidal behavior. They also reported how many hours per day they spent playing video games, on social media sites, watching television, or doing other activities on the computer. Then, after data collection, state-of-the-art statistical analyses were performed to assess the between-person and with-person associations between screen time and depression in adolescence.

The sample was recruited from 31 schools in Greater Montreal, Canada, and students completed a confidential annual web-based survey during class time to assess screen time and symptoms of depression. The adolescents were originally selected for another study which was testing an intervention to prevent substance abuse, this means the individuals were chosen if they were at high-risk of substance use based on an assessment of their personality characteristics.

Both social media and TV served to reinforce spirals, to use the psychiatrists' term, by serving up more of the depressing content that already-depressive minds seek out.

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