Social Media Depression


We have a major problem, which we could call digital depression. In the last six or seven years, the depression rates have increased by about 30 to 40% in teenagers. Suicide rates have gone up 30% among boys, and it literally doubled, 100%
increase in teenage girls. There’s no biological explanation for this massive increase in depression, anxiety, and suicidality. The suggestion I’m making is that there’s a cultural explanation, which is the rise of social media. The average teenager spends
about seven hours a day on their smartphone. In general, social media
is not passive anymore. It’s very interactive. So, you know, you’re texting with friends, and you’re sending pictures, so there is someone else on the other end. That can be good and that can be bad. You know, if it’s a positive relationship, you might feel better. If it’s a negative relationship, though, it could make you feel a lot worse. So, for instance, people talk about fear of missing out on an experience, especially with Snapchat, Instagram, where people are, in realtime, talking about where they are. And so with teenager or young adults, the low self-esteem arises from not being invited to a party, or not being around a
certain group to go out. Once, or twice, or three times, that probably wouldn’t
make anyone feel bad, but when it’s happening every day, dozens of times, and in a month, hundreds of times, it’s very easy for that to add up to reduce that person’s self-esteem. As a culture, we have to
realize we have a problem, and we have to figure out how to fix it. We basically need to get children to wait, just like they’ve waited to drive, they wait to drink, they need to wait to
responsibly use social media. I would recommend not giving
smartphones to children at all. Not giving it to children until they get into the adolescent years, maybe age 13, 14. And then if teenagers have
anxiety and depression, I think we should take
away their social media, just like you would stop it if they had an alcohol
problem or a drug problem. It’s really changed
childhood and adolescence, and personal experiences
for the next generation.

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