Why many teenagers undergo depression these days? Blame it on digital screen, say researchers

Are teens spending more time on screen? If so, it may increase the risk of depressive disorders or induce suicidal tendencies among them, say scientists.

More and more teens are keen to spend more time on a digital screen such as cellphone, tablet or playing computer games than otherwise, without realizing how closer they are moving towards the associated ill-effects, especially mental illness.

The researchers found that compared to male adolescents, teenaged girls are spending more time on digital screens every day. Girls are spending several hours on gadgets and other related tools. However, viewing more on such electronic tools/digital screen triggers the increased risk of depressive disorder and suicides among girls.

For the study, published in the journal Clinical Psychological Science, researchers examined teenage girls who spend 5 or more hours on electronic devices daily and found them to have 48% more chances of suicidal motive. Compared to this, only 28% of those who spend a limited amount of time on screens undergo this sort of feeling, they said.

"This increase in mental health issues among teens is very alarming," said Jean Twenge, Professor at the San Diego State University in California.

After studying the questionnaire data from nearly 500,000 teenagers, the researchers found that the suicide rate amongst teenage girls aged between 13 and 18 years has gone up by 65%. Additionally, the severe symptoms of mental illness and depression have increased by 58%.

When the teens are asked about their leisure time activities, most of them increasingly spent more time with screens and less time on other activities. That was not a good formula for mental health problems, noted researchers.

Related topics : Depression