The Link Between Social Media and Depression in Teens
Is using social media making our kids unhappy? Studies have confirmed that there is a strong link between social media and depression. In many cases, kids who spend more time on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, have a higher rate of depression than those who spend less time. Does that mean social media is dangerous for our kids?
In a 2017 clinical psychological science study, half a million kids of 8th to 12th grade were taken as population, and it showed that the rate of depression has increased in the previous 4-5 years. Moreover, it also showed that in the same period, the suicide rate in girls had also increased. The girls who have shown the symptoms of suicidal ideation are those who use social media a lot.
Studies have also linked the frequent use of social media with anxiety, poor sleep quality, lower self-esteem, inattention, hyperactivity, along with depression. These symptoms are mostly seen in teens and adolescents. However, most of the studies show the correlation, not the causation so we don’t how it is being caused. But, since we know how our kids are being shaped by the use of social media, you pretty much get the idea about where the depression comes from.
Social Media and Depression
There are some theories and facts that have shown how social media can lead to these negative mental health symptoms. One of the biggest difference in the lives of teenagers as compared to previous generations is that they spend less time with their friends and family, and are more into electronic connections.
Experts have suggested that the connections that kids make through the use of social media are less satisfying and can lead to frustration and isolation. If you are not connected to human beings in deep empathetic ways, you won’t be able to benefit from that social interaction. Connections on social media are superficial so they don’t feel connected.
The Negative Effects of Social Media
Several negative effects of social media can lead to the poor mental health of our kids. It is more common with kids as they are immature in the use of social media because of their excitement. They are more prone to the dangers over there thus leading to depression and isolation. However, if parents can identify these negative impacts at the right time, it might save them from regrets. These negative effects are:
For kids, social media is a place of fun and entertainment. But, little do they know that later on, it can become pretty hazardous for them. There are people on social media who are using it for the wrong purpose. These people can be kids’ friends who can use social media to humiliate your kid by posting inappropriate stuff about him. Cyberbullying becomes a major cause of depression when it is uncontrollable and the kids don’t understand what they should be doing.
· Social Isolation
Statistically, there is a strong connection between social media and isolation. Kids usually indulge themselves in the use of social media so much that they lose track of their real lives. Sometimes they don’t get involved in the events happening, their friends don’t include them, and it causes them to fall into depression even more. The more connected they are to their social media life, the less linked they become too real life.
Addiction of any sort leads to depression and anxiety. Social media addiction is no different than substance abuse addiction. The more they get used to checking their social media again and again, the more they feel isolated and frustrated because it becomes their uncontrollable action.
With these and many other negative effects of social media on mental health, it is obvious that depression is one of the main effects and it can hurt our kids as much as it can if not controlled. However, if we look at the other side, if used appropriately, there are benefits to the use of social media too. We must teach our kids to use social media in the right manner.
Benefits of Social Media
When we are worried about the possible negative aspects of social media, we must not forget that social media comes with lots of benefits too. But, only those can avail of the benefits of social media who know the right use. If we teach our kids the right way of using social media, we might have to worry less. Since they become too much excited about the use of social media, they often lose track of right and wrong.
Through social media, kids can learn to express themselves, be confident about who they are, and they get to have an opinion about everything that is happening around them. Through social media, they get to know what is going on in the world and how should they perceive it. Through various forums and chats, they feel confident in expressing their thoughts and knowing that they matter. Also, sometimes they find grooming friendships on these platforms which make them all better.
A Word for Parents
There is one thing that is not going to change, kids are going to use social media either negatively or positively. What’s better for us is to guide them properly and show them the right use so that they can avail of the advantages and be saved from the hazards. To make this happen, you must create an environment that is welcoming and positive for the kids so that they can trust you.
Parents can also use parental control apps to make sure their kids are safe on social media. Through the parental control app like SecureTeen, one can easily monitor their kids’ social media accounts, messages and call logs, and much more. You can easily see if they are safe on the internet or not, along with their activities. Through the use of parental control apps, parents can see the upcoming danger more quickly than the kids which makes it safer to use.