Social Media Alert: Teenage Girls at a Higher Risk of Depression from Excessive Use

Social Media Alert: Teenage Girls at a Higher Risk of Depression from Excessive UseAccording to a new study, teenage girls are twice as likely as boys to become depressed from using social media. The study further reveals that online harassment and overall low self-esteem is the main culprit of high depression rates.

Around 11,000 young people of age 14 years old participated in the Britain-based study, which concluded that girls used social media excessively, with 2 in 5 of them using it for more than 180 minutes a day, compared to 1 in 5 of boys.

Upon querying, the researchers found that 40% of the girls and 25% of the boys had experience online harassment or cyberbullying. Additionally, the report established that the use of social media resulted in improper sleep of around 40% of the girls and 28% of the boys.
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The study also found that girls were more impacted with the use of social media, which also raised concerns about their body image, self-esteem, and appearance. In fact, the researchers reported that 12% of light social media users and 38% of heavy social media users (more than five hours a day) exhibited signs of severe depression.

Social media depression 'twice as likely in teenage girls than boys'
Chart: Theguardian.

Yvonne Kelly, a professor at University College London’s Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care who co-led the research showed concern regarding the figures and urged parents to note the results as well.
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She also emphasizes on finding out the specific use of social media by girls and boys to lower the risk of them developing psychological conditions. Her advice to parents included regulating hours of social media use and putting restrictions on teenagers having mobile devices in their bedrooms to minimize the impact.

The research, supported by the ESRC, was published originally at EClinicalMedicine on 4th January 2019.

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