twitter facebook stumble upon rss

More Online Time Equals More Depression for Teens

sign up for the momlogic newsletter Tweet This

Kate Tuttle: According to a recent study, teenagers who spend a lot of time online are more likely than their less-wired peers to suffer from clinical depression. The study, which focused on adolescents in China, reported that many teens rejected time with friends and family in favor of more screen time.

teen using laptop

Scary stuff! Still, the study itself sounds both obvious and not quite convincing. I'd be curious to know what else was going on in the lives of the kids who repeatedly sought virtual, rather than real, relationships and experiences. Could depression or other emotional problems be a cause, as well as a result, of spending too much time in solitary online pursuits?

And what about kids whose online lives are an adjunct to a healthy, real-time social life? Many teens I know are pretty much always glued to a screen (whether it be a laptop or smartphone), but they're interacting, however vapidly, with their real-life friends, not playing lonely games. As much as my generation craved the endless phone call (remember walking so far away with the handset that the curly cord got caught on kitchen chairs and such?), today's youth are just as connected with their BFFs and crushes. Only the technology is different.

I know there's a great temptation to worry about teenagers, and there's legitimate reason to worry. Adolescents have underdeveloped brains notably lacking in sensible risk assessment and good judgment. Add to that a healthy sex drive and the car keys, and you bet it's scary to be the parent of even the most emotionally well-balanced teen. And it's true that teenagers are vulnerable to mental illness -- which can often go undiagnosed or undercover, masked by substance abuse or other problems. 

Still, the vast majority of kids are all right. And isn't it really up to parents to understand what teens are doing online and why they're spending their time there, rather than simply railing against this new landscape in which our teens, whether we like it or not, are growing up?


next: The Super-Saver's Guide to Grocery Shopping at Dollar Stores
7 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous August 17, 2010, 10:59 PM

I applaud the author of this article for challenging the easy, fear-mongering conclusions one might draw from the study mentioned.

Cause and effect is a concept poorly misunderstood by individuals of all levels of education. Social researchers, college-educated or not, are not immune. I agree with the opinion stated here — SO MANY teens (and other age groups) spend HOURS upon HOURS online that the suggestion that it causes depression is absurd.

/”And isn’t it really up to parents to understand what teens are doing online and why they’re spending their time there, rather than simply railing against this new landscape in which our teens, whether we like it or not, are growing up?”/

Very well said.

cheapviagra684 August 30, 2010, 4:47 AM
Berenice October 12, 2010, 9:09 AM

I wouldn’t connect “screen time” with depression at all, as you say there have to be much more going on in their lives to rather be on a computer rather than with the outside world. I don’t think they would be so depressed they would start to Buy Kamagra out of the blue.

hearing loss help February 27, 2011, 2:19 AM

I have been reading out a few of your posts and i must say nice stuff. I will definitely bookmark your website.

Gracie Kuhlmey March 16, 2011, 12:29 PM

superior listing you’ve enjoy

Pharma247 April 16, 2011, 4:35 PM

Hello! gdddcfe interesting gdddcfe site!

Pharmb418 May 13, 2011, 10:47 PM

Hello! deeecdf interesting deeecdf site!


Leave a reply:



(not displayed)

     




Avoid clicking "Post" more than once
Back to top >>
advertisement