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Social media 'causing teenage depression'

Increased social media use and television viewing are linked to worsening teenage depression, researchers say. Image posed
Increased social media use and television viewing are linked to worsening teenage depression, researchers say. Image posed

By Nina Massey

Increased social media use and television viewing are linked to worsening teenage depression, researchers say.

The more time adolescents spend on social media and in front of the TV, the more severe their symptoms of depression become, it is suggested.

The study of 1,786 girls and 2,028 boys aged 12 to 16 found that if they reported that their social media use and TV viewing surpassed their overall mean level of use in a given year, then their symptoms also increased that year.

There was no evidence screen time had an impact on adolescent depression by reducing their involvement in physical activities.

But the data did indicate interacting with media outlets that were more conducive to promoting upward social comparisons was associated with a drop in self-esteem. Researchers also found evidence that social media may promote depressive symptoms in those already suffering them.

Elroy Boers, researcher at Universite de Montreal's department of psychiatry, said: "Social media and TV are forms of media that frequently expose adolescents to images of others operating in more prosperous situations, such as other adolescents with perfect bodies and a more exciting or rich lifestyle."

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