STUDY: Social Media, Smartphone Use Affect Mental Health of Teens

Social media and smartphone use significantly affect the mental health of teenagers, according to a study published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal,reports CBS News.

Researchers pored over dozens of studies that implicated smartphone and social media use in the increase of “mental distress, self-injurious behavior and suicidality among youth.”

In one U.S. study, the rate of kids and teens arriving in hospitals due to suicidal thoughts or attempts “almost doubled between 2008 and 2015, with the highest increase among adolescent girls.”

In Ontario, the number of teenagers reporting “moderate to severe mental distress” went from 24 percent in 2013 to 39 percent just four years later.

Another study conducted in Germany found thatkids who spent more time on Facebook were more prone to negative emotions such as envy and insecurity about their status.

Another review of 20 studies found that theuse of social media was associated with “body image concerns and disordered eating,” the research team reported.

"Physicians, teachers and families need to work together with youth to decrease possible harmful effects of smartphones and social media on their relationships, sense of self, sleep, academic performance, and emotional well-being,"said study lead author Dr. Elia Abi-Jaoude, a staff psychiatrist at The Hospital for Sick Children and Toronto Western Hospital in Toronto.

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