Technology – a Blessing or a Curse? The Dark Link Between Social Media and Depression
Depression rates have been on the rise, especially in young adults and adolescence. In fact, it’s estimated that over 3 million young adults between the age of 12-17 have had a major depressive episode. Startlingly enough, there is plenty of evidence that indicates social media may be one of the leading culprits. Technology – a Blessing or a Curse? The Dark Link Between Social Media and Depression While social media encourages socialization, communication, and offers an astounding amount of enhanced education opportunities, it is also the gateway for cyberbullying, harassment, and sexting. Some researchers are even studying social media as a tool to measure and monitor the mental health of individual users. It’s no surprise that social media is also guilty of fostering poor body image, despite the #bodypositivity promoted on platforms like Instagram and Twitter. In order to understand the role social media is playing in the state of your teen’s mental health, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the symptoms of depression. While depression will affect everyone differently, common symptoms are…
- Persistently low mood – this can be anything from pure apathy, a “zombie-like” personality, sadness, excessive anxiety, feelings of hopelessness, unnecessary guilt, or irritability.
- Lack of interest, enthusiasm, or energy – apparent sluggishness or a loss of interest in hobbies they were once fond of is a red flag.
- Trouble sleeping, eating, or concentrating – the hormone imbalance caused by depression not only affects mood, it can often disturb sleeping, eating, and your teen’s ability to focus.
- Unexplained pain – mysterious aches or digestive issues with seemingly no other cause may be a result of depression.
If your child is expressing any of the above symptoms along with a number of others, they may be suffering from major depression and/or potentially other mood disorders.
The Dark Link Between Social Media and Depression – the Red Flags To determine if your teen’s mental health is being impacted by social media, look out for the following…
- Increased phone or social media activity.
- Posts with dark, depressing, or suicidal hints or innuendos. (Disclaimer: there is a difference between posts that may indicate actual suicidal thoughts, and reposts of – albeit, distasteful – memes making light of suicide).
- Social reclusion. Avoiding friends, family, and going out in general. If your child is the victim of cyberbullying, they may even stop going to school altogether.
- Low self esteem.
- Anxiety while using the computer or cell phone. Look out for furrowed brows and quick tab closes when you walk by.
Depression rates, especially in teens and young adults, have been on the rise. It’s estimated that over 3 million young adults have experienced a major depressive episode. While social media is a wonderful portal for socialization and enhanced education, it can be a toxic gateway to cyberbullying, sexting, and harassment. For more information on how to keep your loved one safe online, check out our blog. For more information about Bark, please contact us.
Bark is a comprehensive online safety solution that empowers families to monitor content, manage screen time, and filter websites to help protect their kids online. Our mission is to give parents and guardians the tools they need to raise kids in the digital age.