A study conducted in 2017 concluded that more than 1 in 3 teenage girls suffer with anxiety and depression. With 37% of girls having three or more symptoms of psychological distress, such as feeling worthless or unable to concentrate, compared to 15% of boys. Interestingly, it also concluded that depression and anxiety in boys had fallen within the last 10 years.
Anxiety has overtaken depression as the most common reason generation Z seek mental health help and many believe that this is due to the pressures associated with social media. With a tool that impacts our social lives vastly, it clearly has a correlation to our emotional wellbeing. “Social media also puts pressure on girls to live their lives in the public domain, to present a personal ‘brand’ from a young age, and to seek reassurance in the form of likes and shares.” Nick Harrop, the campaign manager of charity YoungMinds.
A study conducted by Jean Twenge, San Diego State University also concluded that those who spent more time on social media reported an increase in mental health issues compared to those who spent less time online and more time playing sports, meeting up with friends or religious activities.
Common norms have become not so common, with many teens even agreeing that it is appropriate to break up via social media as well use social media to both avoid and distract them from situations or conversations. Attractively, social media also draws the illusion of companionship without having to deal with friendship demands. Although many teens are aware of the pressures and worries associated with technology, they are still a slave to tech.
For some tips on how to decrease the amount of time you spend on your phone or on social media, please click here