Opinion Piece: Is the use of Electronics linked to Depression in Teens?
We live in a time of change. Every day, new medicines are being created, new species are being discovered, and our technological capabilities are expanding like never before. Yet it’s during these times that we must take a moment and wonder: have these recent advancements in technology done any damage to our culture, economy, and society as a whole? When it comes to depression, especially in teens, the answer is most definitely yes. In fact, a new study published in the journal Clinical Psychological Science shows a possible correlation between increased symptoms of depression and suicidal thoughts in teens who spend more than three hours a day online, on cell phones or playing video games. And to many medical experts, this is no surprise. “The study does confirm what a number of other studies have told us that not only has the average amount of time teens are spending online and playing video games increased significantly since the turn of the century, but also that the rates of depression have increased concurrently,” says Dr. Paul Weigle, a physician who specializes in child and adolescent psychiatry and chairs the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry’s Media Committee. He continues, noting that while this correlation doesn’t necessarily indicate causation, the fact of the matter is that “increased time online directly causes depression, increased exposure [to video games, cell phones and the internet] is really the biggest change in the lives of children and adolescents during that time period.” Now, while the obvious takeaway from this discovery is to limit our time on electronics, it also acts as a microcosm of our ever-changing world. We’re constantly seeing changes in the way we live our lives on a daily basis. While many of these changes are good, we must also make sure to keep in mind what detrimental effects they can have on us.