Thursday, December 21, 2017

Teen Depression and Suicide Linked to Smartphone Use

by Kathy Mahoney

NPR recently published a story about the dangerous connection between smartphones, depression, and suicide rates in teens. Research has shown a sharp increase in depression symptoms, suicide risk factors, and suicide rates in teens since 2012, coinciding with the time smartphones became popular.

The study found that teens who spend five or more hours a day on their phones are 71% more likely to have one risk factor for suicide. The amount of screen time, no matter the content, correlated to higher rates of depression.

The author of the study stated that “three hours a day and beyond is where you saw the more pronounced increase in those who had at least one suicide risk factor."

Recommendations for parents included limiting use to two hours per day or less. When not using smartphones, teens should be engaging in activities that promote mental health, such as exercising, seeing friends and family face to face, sleeping, and getting outside. Furthermore, the author reports that the ideal age that a teen should get a smartphone is 14, when they enter high school. Studies show that younger teens may be more vulnerable to the demands of social media.

To read the article in full, click here.

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