Social media is not to blame for depression in young people

For all we hear about an escalation in mental health problems in adolescence, there is no persuasive evidence that the internet is to blame | McCrae, N. for The Conversation

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My colleagues and I recently conducted a systematic review of the evidence and found only a weak correlation between teenagers’ use of social media and depression.

After its launch in 2004, the social networking website Facebook rapidly expanded to global coverage. Since the advent of smartphones, instant messaging sites such as WhatsApp have become the most popular means of communication for younger people, who spend much of their lives fixated on digital devices, oblivious to everything around them. Some experts believe that this immersion in cyberspace has negative psychological and social effects, and news reports and opinion pieces in newspapers often portray the internet as a danger to the young.

We examined research measuring social media use and depression in young people up to 18 years of age. Eleven studies, with a total of 12,646 participants, were included. Overall, we found a small but statistically significant relationship between online social interaction and depressed mood.

Read the full blog post here

Read the systematic review here

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