Depression warning: Teen girls ‘more likely to suffer if they spend hours glued to phone’
Psychologists found the suicide rate for girls aged 13 to 18 increased by 65 per cent between 2010 and 2015.
And the number of girls experiencing so-called suicide-related outcomes such as feeling hopeless, thinking about suicide, planning for suicide or attempting suicide rose by 12 per cent.
The number of teen girls reporting symptoms of severe depression increased by 58 per cent.
Worryingly San Diego State University psychologists found 48 per cent of teens who spent five or more hours per day on electronic devices reported at least one suicide-related outcome, compared to only 28 per cent of those who spent less than an hour a day on devices.
Depressive symptoms were more common in teens who spent a lot of time on their devices
These increases in mental health issues among teens are very alarming
Depressive symptoms were more common in teens who spent a lot of time on their devices, as well.
Today’s children and teenagers are increasingly spend more time on screens and less time on other activities which is proving to be disastrous for mental health.
Professor Jean Twenge said: “These increases in mental health issues among teens are very alarming.
“Teens are telling us they are struggling, and we need to take that very seriously.
“When I first saw these sudden increases in mental health issues, I wasn’t sure what was causing them.
“But these same surveys ask teens how they spend their leisure time, and between 2010 and 2015, teens increasingly spent more time with screens and less time on other activities.
“That was by far the largest change in their lives during this five-year period, and it’s not a good formula for mental health.”
The findings matched previous studies which linked spending time on social media to unhappiness.
The results were based on questionnaires filled out 500,000 US teenagers in two anonymous, nationally representative surveys conducted since 1991.
They also looked at data suicide statistics kept by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But on the positive side the study found spending time away from the screen, engaging in social interaction, sports and even doing homework is linked to having fewer depressive symptoms and suicidal tendencies.
Prof Twenge added: “Although we can’t say for sure that the growing use of smartphones caused the increase in mental health issues, that was by far the biggest change in teens’ lives between 2010 and 2015.”
The study was reported in the journal of Clinical Psychological Science.