Increased Social Media Use May Develop Depressive Symptoms In Teenage Girls

Increased Social Media Use May Develop Depressive Symptoms In Teenage Girls

Researchers found the most important routes from social media use to depressive symptoms were shown to be via poor sleep and online harassment.

For example, almost 40 percent of girls who spent more than five hours a day on apps such as Facebook, Snapchat and WhatsApp also showed signs of depression, compared with 14.5 percent of boys.

For those online five hours or more online - one in four girls, and one in eight boys - this rocketed to 38 per cent and 15 per cent respectively.

Girls were also more affected when it came to social media use and concerns about body image, self-esteem and appearance, the researchers found, but here the gender gap was smaller.

But twice as many girls as boys use social media for more than three hours a day.

As researchers delve even deeper into the case, they found that more girls have experienced online harassment or cyberbullying than boys.

The authors say the sleep disruption is due to young people staying up late to use social media and being woken up by alerts coming in to their phones beside their beds.

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Percentage of girls in a study who reported experiencing disrupted sleep, compared with 28 per cent of boys.

Shirley Cramer, chief executive of the Royal Society of Public Health, said more action was needed from government to understand the impact of social media.

"These findings are highly relevant to current policy development on guidelines for the safe use of social media and calls on industry to more tightly regulate hours of social media use for young people", Professor Kelly said.

"My best bet would be the types of things that girls and boys do online", stated Kelly to CNN.

The study, funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), was published online in the journal EClinicalMedicine on Friday. Stevens has suggested taxing companies to help the NHS cover the costs of treating soaring numbers of under-18s suffering problems such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders and psychosis, which Theresa May has made a personal priority.

"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. Clinical, educational and family settings are all potential points of contact where young people could be encouraged and supported to reflect not only on their social media use, but also other aspects of their lives including on-line experiences and their sleep patterns. "Why was I feeling so different to everyone else?"

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