Study: Smartphones could be causing depression in teens - WNEM TV 5

Study: Smartphones could be causing depression in teens

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

Social media use continues to rise among America's teens and unfortunately, so is the rate of adolescents choosing to take their own life.

Scientists suggests there could be a link.

"It's not helpful to watch any type of glamorization or any other social media that's not helpful," said Barb Smith, executive director of Survivors of Suicide.

Smith has consoled many families who have lost a loved one to suicide.

She said many factors can contribute to why someone would take their own life.

She said in recent years social media has become a growing factor, especially with teen suicides.

"When you start bullying in a public way, it's just one more stresser. One more heaviness in your backpack that you're already carrying," Smith said.

A recent study found the number of teens who spend at least five hours a day on their smart phones has doubled in the last six years. Those same teens are 70 percent more likely to have suicidal thoughts or actions compared to teens who are on their smartphones for only an hour.

Smith said that means parents should be paying close attention to the amount of time their kids spend on their phones and social media.

"I'm a firm believer that the phones should be out of the teen's room after 9 o'clock at night because a lot of things happen at 9 p.m.," Smith said.

Smith said social media and smartphones can also become part of the solution for many troubled teens.

She said there are resources available online and through Facebook and Twitter.

If you or a loved one is having suicidal thoughts you can reach the suicide prevention helpline at 1-800-273-8255.

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