Parents, be alert! Social media may have mental health impact among teens, girls: Study

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mental health, mental health issues, social media, depression, lifestyle, smartphone use, smartphone addiction, social media, cyber bullying, peer pressure, emotional distress

Parents, be alert! Social media may be fast triggering mental health issues, particularly among teenagers and girls. A latest analysis by Canadian researchers point out that girls and young women spend more time on social media. They also have more exposure to issues such as cyber bullying, which also has a mental health impact. Social media use affects their sleep quality and heightens their emotional distress around concerns such as having a perfect body image.

These findings are detailed in the latest study by Canadian researchers, who have concluded that smartphone use and social media are key contributing factors to the rising burden of mental health issues among today’s youth.

Published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, the analysis has also reviewed dozens of other studies, surveys and published reports while drawing up their conclusion of mental health concerns turning into an epidemic among youth.

Be it the increasing number of youth who are being admitted to hospitals for mental health issues or the rising incidence of suicides among youth, researchers have raised serious concerns about the increasing percentage of teenagers in Ontario who are being treated for mental distress.

The researchers also cite a disturbing statistic – suicide has been identified as the second most common cause of death among Canadian youth!

Their observation is that the increasing mental health issues and distress among youth in North America coincides with a steep increase in the use of social media and smartphones by children and teenagers.

Findings from earlier studies establish that those students who tend to be on Facebook are most likely to envy their peers. While these findings are not intended to demonise the use of Internet, smartphone or social media, the awareness is essential, particularly among parents, local communities and educators.

Questions need to be raised on the quality of time being spent by youth on social media. Wondering why? Given that young minds tend to be easily influenced online, it is essential to limit the time that is spent on social media and on the smartphone.

Clearly, Canadian researchers are indicating that social media use tends to become problematic when its use goes beyond two hours on a daily basis.