Are smartphones causing depression in teens?
The popularity of smartphones among teens rose somewhere around 2012. They are known as the iGen, the generation born in 1995 and later. They are the first ones who have spent their entire adolescence with smartphones and social media.
This seems to have made a big impact in their lives and not necessarily a positive one. In just the five years between 2010 and 2015, there was a major increase in the number of US teens who felt useless and joyless, these are classic symptoms of depression. Figures showed a surge of 33% in large national surveys. Teen suicide attempts shot up by 23%. What’s worse, the count of 13 to 18-year-olds who committed suicide moved up to 31%.
Factors causing depression
Interacting with other humans face-to-face is one of the greatest sources of human happiness. This also provides a healthy mental state. When this is replaced with mere screen interaction, it can ironically result in social isolation and lead to depression.
Cyber bullying is another online problem that teens face. It can make them lose self-confidence, create an inferiority complex and even push them to depression and suicide. Parents and teachers must keep watch on teens and stay aware of they suddenly show emotional disturbances or signs of depression. Assure them of your unconditional love and that you will be there for them always.
Too much time on the smartphone could eat into sleep time. Lack of adequate sleep is one of the key factors leading to depression. It can also create other health problems. Twenge's research revealed that 71% of the teens who spent five or more hours per day on their devices were likely to have at least one risk factor for suicide. This has no relevance to the kind of content consumed.