A recent study by researchers at Sainte-Justine Hospital in Montreal shows that screen time is linked to an increase in depressive symptoms in teenagers – with social media being a chief contributor.
CBC reported that the study, which was conducted from 2012 until 2018, followed the behaviour of over 3,800 subjects from grade 7 to grade 11 who spent six to seven hours in front of a screen each day.
“What we found over and over was that the effects of social media were much larger than any of the other effects for the other types of digital screen time,” said Patricia Conrod, professor of psychiatry and team leader.
“It exposes young people to images that promote upward social comparison and makes them feel bad about themselves.”
However, the study also found that time spent playing video games did not contribute to depression in these high school students.
“The findings surprised us,” he said. “Video gaming makes one more happy. It’s a good pastime.”
The study also suggests that most gamers are not socially isolated, with over 70% of them playing with other people either online or in person.