Since the late 2000s a substantial amount of research has been done on the correlation between technology use and mental health. A new study by the Journal of abnormal psychology in the U.S. found that rates of depression in teens and young adults had increased by an average of 50% and the same trend was visible among people with 'serious psychological distress' a term used to describe feelings of intense sadness, anxiety and hopelessness.  

From 2008 rates of suicide, suicide attempts and suicidal thoughts all rose significantly and in some age demographics more than doubled. In 2017 this led U.S. psychologists to urge that social media was increasing feelings of loneliness, concluding that more than 2hrs of social media use per day doubled the chance of a person experiencing social isolation and use by teens of more than 3hrs a day increased the likelihood of a suicide by 34%. 

 

People in the U.S. spend an average of 5 hours per day on their phones which means they have less time available for real world interactions. One of the study's authors professor of psychology Jean Twenge from San Diego State University points out "the way people communicate and spend their time has fundamentally changed. People spend less time with their friends, less time sleeping and more time on digital media."  

 

Professor Brian Primack from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine says "this is an important issue to study because mental health problems and social isolation are at epidemic levels among young adults."

Their study revealed that exposure to idealised representations of other peoples lives was increasing feelings of envy & low self esteem and that use of social media prompted feelings of exclusion, such as seeings photos of friends enjoying an event to which you were not invited. 

These studies indicate that #FOMO is more serious than the hashtag suggests "We are inherently social creatures but modern life tends to compartmentalise us instead of bring us together. While it may seem that social media presents as an opportunity to fill a social void, our study suggests it may not be the solution people were hoping for." says Primack.

If you're suffering from a mental health crisis, people are ready to listen, please click here

A new Harvard study revealed the pursuit of 'likes' can be as addictive as drugs & gambling and neuroscientists have compared social media interactions with a syringe of dopamine being injected straight into our body. If you answer 'yes' to three or more of these questions, it could be time for a digital detox.

Do you spend more than 2 hours per day on social media? 

Do you become irritable if you're unable to use social media?

Do you use social media as an escape from problems or reality?

Do you have difficulties maintaining real world relationships?

Do you feel depressed or suicidal while using social media?

If you're suffering from a mental health crisis, people are ready to listen, please click here

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