Whether it's on your computer, on your smartphone or in front of your TV, the time spent every day behind the screens is getting bigger. It is difficult to imagine a life without screens.
A recent long-term study has shown that the persistent use of the media may exacerbate depressive symptoms, especially among teens.
Social networks and television increase depression
According to researchers from CHU Sainte-Justine Children's Hospital, affiliates of the University of Montreal, social networks and television in particular are aggravating the symptoms of teenage depression.
For four years, about 4,000 adolescents were asked to keep up with the time spent by social media, television, video games and computer.
In addition, teens periodically filled out questionnaires about their mood, which researchers compared later with the digital user behavior of the participants.
The result of the study, published in JAMA Pediatrics, shows:
Subjects that often use social media or watch television have had more and more depressive moods, useless feelings and recurring thoughts of suicide.
On the other hand, dangerous video games and other types of screen usage that are also studied in the study did not have noticeable effects.
Comparisons hurt young people
The researchers believe that less than the time teens spend in front of the screen that the way they use the media have an impact on the psyche.
According to the study, television programs or websites that encourage young people to compete with other people are especially detrimental. So-called "upward social comparisons" allowed less self-esteem.
The same effects were observed when teens were in social networks such as Facebook, Instagram and Co., where constant comparison with others is close.
More depression since the introduction of smartphones?
The results are in line with the results of the study in recent years.
"Social networks and television are media in which teens are often exposed to images of other people who show success, such as" perfect "bodies and an exciting lifestyle. say Elroy Boers, lead author of the study. Postdoctoral in the Psychiatric Hospital of the University of Montreal.
In addition, social media in particular have used algorithms suggesting similar content to users based on their previous search and selection behavior. This would continually expose teens to content that further improves their depressive symptoms.
Patricia Conrod, lead author, professor of UdeM psychiatry, summarizes: "Many people attribute the growing rate of depression among young people in North America to the introduction of mobile digital devices in our society and ours study seems to confirm it. "
Boers, E. et al. (2019): Association of detection and depression time in adolescence, extracted on 07.76.2019 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31305878