Research: Social media promote depression in children and adolescents

Research: Social media promote depression in children and adolescents

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How the use of social media affects children's psyche

The use of social media seems to have a negative impact on our children's psyche. According to a new study, children who watch TV for hours or use social media are more likely to develop depression.

The current study by the University of Montreal has now found that children who spend hours on social media or television are more likely to develop depression. The results of the study were published in the English-language journal "JAMA Pediatrics".

Teenage self-esteem is influenced by social media

The researchers found that the children who watched TV or used social media for the longest time tended to have the most severe symptoms of depression. When teenagers see other people with near-perfect bodies or a glamorous lifestyle, it can affect their self-esteem. Instagram and Facebook can trigger a real downward spiral by showing children many such pictures. The researchers therefore recommend that television and social media be limited in use.

How did computer games work?

The study examined 3,826 children aged 12 to 16 years. The longer these children used a television or social media, the more likely depressed symptoms were to develop. However, the authors report that there was no influence from the use of computer games or the use of computers for other reasons, such as surfing the Internet.

Stricter regulation needed?

The results of the study show that the use of social media and television are important predictors of depression in adolescence. Regulating the use of social media and television could be a way to help young people deal better with depressive mood or susceptibility to depressive symptoms.

Viewing decisions continue to exacerbate the problem

Social media and television are media that young people often present pictures of other people who work in better paying jobs, have perfect bodies and have a more exciting or wealthy lifestyle. The more the person's depressive state influences his or her viewing decisions, the more relevant content is suggested or consumed, thereby maintaining and increasing depression, the authors of the study explain. However, there were also some critics of the investigation who criticized the fact that the study was comprehensive but could not clearly demonstrate that television and social media caused the depression. (as)

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    • Author and source information

      This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


      • Elroy Boers, Mohammad H. Afzali, Nicola Newton, Patricia Conrod: Association of Screen Time and Depression in Adolescence, in JAMA Pediatrics (query 17.07.2019), JAMA Pediatrics

Video: Addressing Depressive Symptoms in Children and Adolescents (October 2022).