Social media use linked to depression

Children who often spend time browsing social media could be in need of extra emotional support from their guardians, new research has warned.

Teenagers who use social media for more than two hours each day were found to be more likely to have symptoms of depression.

The study published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behaviour, and Social Networking discovered the link between heavy social media use and increased probability of mental health problems, including psychological distress and suicidal thoughts.

“Youth with mental health problems may be frequently using [social networking sites] to seek interaction or support,” the study found.

“The present results showed that more than a quarter of students reported an unmet need for mental health support. Of these, the majority reported frequent use of [social networking sites].”

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Expanding your friendship group online might not be the best idea for the young. Photo: Getty

The researchers examined data taken from 750 students in the 2013 Ontario (Canada) Drug use and Health Survey. 

Health professionals should factor in social media usage when treating youth with potential mental health complications, the authors recommended.

“Youth with poor mental health are spending significant time on social networking sites.