Could certain factors in today’s youth culture be causing our teenagers to be depressed?
It turns out that too much time wrapped up in media, too little activity and not enough sleep could be leading to an increase in teen depression.
PluggedIn.com is reporting on a new study in which researchers surveyed more than 12,000 students between the ages of 14 and 16 and asked them about eight potential risk factors for depression.
Those factors included excessive drinking, using drugs, smoking heavily, truancy, high media use, lack of sleep, a lack of exercise and weight issues. About 13% of the teens surveyed were high in every possible category, and of these high-risk kids, about 15% of them reported signs of depression
But the researchers also found that the 30% of teens who had high scores in media usage, lack of sleep and lack of exercise were almost as prone to be depressed as the kids that engaged more risky behaviors.
In fact, they referred to these media obsessed, exhausted, non-exercising kids as being in an “invisible risk” group.
Meanwhile, a separate study conducted by researchers at Kent State University found that college students who use their smartphones frequently are more likely to suffer higher anxiety, have lower grade-point averages and be less happy than their less tech-tethered peers.
It seems like we’re seeing pretty solid evidence that mobile technology, social networking, and too much time spent in front of a screen is simply not good for us, physically, emotionally, relationally—and I would add spiritually.
If you want to read an excellent—but somewhat troubling book on this topic, pick up The Digital Invasion by Dr. Arch Hart.
I’m Bill Maier for WBCL.