The higher use of social media has been suspected to be a catalyst for young people’s higher rates of depression compared to previous generations. New research suggests that, indeed, there is a relationship between one’s use of social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, etc.) and depression.
The April, 2016, issue of Depression and Anxiety reported a study in which researchers compared the amount of time spent using social media with depression. Having surveyed almost 1800 adults (ages 19-32), the results indicated a higher rate – 1.7 times greater likelihood – of depression in the group that had the most social media use. They do not make conclusions about whether being on social media causes more depression or if people who are already depressed are using social media more.
More research will certainly be valuable, but the bottom line is that being social with people is not the same as being social with devices.
It is important to teach our children how to communicate with each other using real words and expressing and regulating our emotions accordingly. Using text/chat acronyms, emojis and facial overlays on snapchat is not the same as developing one’s social skills, and depression is more likely to arise when relationships are poor or absent.
Lin, L. y., Sidani, J. E., Shensa, A., Radovic, A., Miller, E., Colditz, J. B., Hoffman, B. L., Giles, L. M. and Primack, B. A. (2016), ASSOCIATION BETWEEN SOCIAL MEDIA USE AND DEPRESSION AMONG U.S. YOUNG ADULTS. Depress. Anxiety, 33: 323–331. doi: 10.1002/da.22466