Teen Suicide & Social Media Use Rise, Is There a Link? [VIDEO]
After two decades of decline, teen suicides rates rose again between 2010 and 2015.The study, conducted by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, doesn’t explain why, but the data suggests there may be a correlation with increased use of social media.
Experts say a steady diet of posts depicting friends’ perfect lives may be taking a toll on teens’ mental health.
“After hours of scrolling through Instagram feeds, I just feel worse about myself because I feel left out,” said Caitlin Hearty, a 17-year-old Littleton, Colorado, high school senior who helped organize an offline campaign last month after several local teen suicides.
During the campaign, teens agreed not to use the internet or social media platforms for one month.
One of the key findings of the study is that the number of teens who use electronic devices for five hours a day doubled from 8 percent in 2009 to 19 percent in 2015. Teenagers in that category were 70 percent more likely to have suicidal thoughts than their peers who used such devices for only one hour per day.
On a personal note (and it’s been a few decades since I was a teenager), I will note that I recently found a correlation between my reliance on social media and stress. The badge that indicated the number of Facebook notifications on my phone was a constant distraction. I didn’t take Facebook off my phone completely (let’s not get crazy), but I removed the icon from the home screen and buried the app so it’s much less accessible. I feel like that small step has had a positive impact on my stress level and overall well-being.