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Social media linked to higher risk of depression in teen girls

07 January 2019

The Royal Society for Public Health said the study showed it was important to increase the awareness of parents, schools and policy makers on the role of social media in kids' mental health.

Social media is also closely associated with poor sleeping habits, especially among 14-year-olds showing clinical signs of depression.

"Their use of platforms like Instagram and Snapchat can also undermine children's view of themselves by making them feel inferior to the people they follow", she added. The findings were published in the journal EClinicalMedicine. Regardless of length of time, girls were consistently about twice as likely to be depressed in relation to their social media use. For girls, greater daily hours of social media use corresponded to a stepwise increase in depressive symptoms.

Teenage girls who spend more time on social media have a higher risk of depression than boys, a study has found.

However, the study only showed an association between social media use and symptoms of depression, which can include feelings of unhappiness, restlessness or loneliness.

Researchers from University College London in the United Kingdom analysed data from almost 11,000 young people and found that 14-year-old girls were heavier users of social media with two fifths of them using it for more than three hours per day compared with one fifth of boys.

The investigation likewise discovered that 12 percent of light social media users and 38 percent of substantial social media users hinted at having increasingly extreme despondency.

"In the United Kingdom, girls tend to more likely use things like Snapchat or Instagram, which is more based around physical appearance, taking photographs and commenting on those photographs", she said. The new study reveals that girls are worst affected by depression due to poor sleep and online bullying compared to boys. "My best bet would be the types of things that girls and boys do online", stated Kelly to CNN. Only 4% of girls reported not using social media compared to 10% of boys. Among those with depression and low mood, 48.4 percent girls and 19.8 percent boys said that they got less than seven hours sleep.

The study had some limitations, including that the findings show only a correlation between depressive symptoms and social media use, not a causal relationship. This was in comparison with teenagers who used it for one to three hours/day.

Among teens, "if their sleep is disturbed, and that's because they're using social media a lot, could you cut back on their social media and improve their sleep?" "Adolescents have social anxiety and exhibit their emotions, views and opinions by communicating to people on social media".

Social media and internet companies have been criticised for not acknowledging the impact their services have on the lives of young people.

Social media linked to higher risk of depression in teen girls