Social media may play role in youth mental health woes, especially for girls
|CTVnews 11 Feb 2020 at 08:53|
Researchers at the Hospital for Sick Children say smartphone and social media use may be a contributing factor in the increase in mental health issues reported by youth. (Pixabay / Pexels)
TORONTO -- As more children report and seek help for mental health issues, Canadian researchers have found that social media use could be an ignored contributing factor.
"Findings from a few longitudinal, randomized and controlled studies suggest that social media and smartphone use may be contributing to the rising burden of mental distress among youth," researchers from the Toronto-based Hospital for Sick Children wrote Monday in .
By reviewing dozens of published reports, studies and surveys, the researchers laid out a clear case for a growing epidemic of mental health concerns among youth.
"In the last decade, increasing mental distress and treatment for mental health conditions among youth in North America has paralleled a steep rise in the use of smartphones and social media by children and adolescents," they wrote.
During the same 2013-2017 time period, the percentage of teenagers reporting spending five or more hours a day on social media nearly doubled, rising from 11 per cent to 20 per cent.
The SickKids team noted that researchers have found it difficult to prove that a connection exists between the increases in youth social media use and youth mental health issues, but say they believe their work points to a link.