There is rising concern among the medical community that a higher amount of time spent on social has an adverse effect on our children and teenagers’ mental health. Some studies have suggested that children that spend more than three hours per day on social media are more likely to develop problems such as depression, aggressive behavior, anxiety, and antisocial patterns.
How can this be? The social media effect on our health
Part of these conclusions come from a study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, which included a self-reported sample of 6,600 young Americans, that testified the time spent on social media and other mental health issues. What was found was that there is a correlation between this use and a higher rate of mental health problems. This was even when the study adjusted for a history of mental health diseases.
Other studies found similar patterns. Even though it is hard to separate correlation from causation in many of these cases, the numbers, however, are alarming. A 2017 study that analyzed eighth to 12th graders found that depressive symptoms increased by 33 percent between 2010 and 2015.
The study’s leading author, Jean Twenge from San Diego State University, concludes that there is a correlation between the adoption of smartphones and the rise of depression among teenagers.
Is Facebook more addictive than cigarettes?
Yes, that seems to be the conclusion of a study from Chicago University. According to this study, the urge to check Facebook was almost impossible to resist for many of the subjects. How was the study conducted? Subjects (between 18 and 25 years old) were handed blackberries and the researchers texted them and measured the need to check social media. They found out that the desire to check the message was too powerful.
What can we do?
Technology in general and social media, in particular, can be used as forces for good. They help connect people and ideas and causes can be advanced through it. However, an alarming trend is starting to show, especially among children and teenagers (although, other age groups are not free of risks).
We, as a community, parents, doctors, psychologists should first start to acknowledge this as a problem that needs to be dealt with. And then we must start to act. With the available data we can conclude that something is not right and, from that, we must try to steer our children to a better path. But this can only be achieved if we work together.
This is why, more than ever, we need your help. Your generosity is of the utmost importance to us. If you want to take part of this movement of helping the young generations to make better use of social media and avoid it being a health hazard, we kindly ask you to donate to our organisation, so that we can use the available resources to create awareness amongst the public and put this problem front and center of the public agenda. There is still time!