Long Screen Time Can Lead to Teen Depression


According to researchers who have conducted a new study, children who spend longer hours on the computer or watching television or playing games are more prone to be affected by depression. The problem is that teen depression may lead to suicidal thoughts also. These children may be affected by anxiety disorders also. Over 12,000 adolescents who belong to various European countries took part in this study and the purpose of the study was to identify the risk behaviors in young people.

While doing the study, researchers made it a point to investigate if adolescents used alcohol or drugs and if they had other problems like weight loss or weight gains, sleeplessness, disinterest in exercises and tendencies to spend long hours in front of the screen.

Constant browsing on the net may increase in isolated feelings in teens

One of the researchers point out if teens spend more number of hours on the Net, it may indicate that they may be facing problems in developing relationships socially. The researchers add that youngsters who feel lonely may be suffering from what are known as social phobias and these children may feel that they find some sort of solace from the Internet. But in reality, the habit of constantly browsing the Net contributes more to their isolated feelings.

Risk behaviors

Researchers also point out that the results show that those adolescents who spend long hours on the Net, on video games or in front of the television screen may be affected by anxiety and teen depression and so, their risk behaviors may be more dangerous than what everyone presumes. In fact, these researchers have categorized the young teens who spend such long hours in front of the screen as an “invisible group” because they are not able to study the complete effects of their behaviors.

Atypical depression

But over 32 percent of the adolescents of the group were affected by atypical depression and about 34 percent came under the high-risk group. Around six percent of the invisible group confessed that they had suicidal thoughts and 10 percent of this group belonged to the high-risk category.

By atypical depression, it is meant that is a type of depression with a few features that are different from the normal depression. There may be symptoms like weight gains, increased appetite, feeling strange sensations in legs, fear of getting abandoned and so on. Since this depression is not easy to recognize, the treatment process may also get delayed.

There may be other problems also

In the case of adolescents who are already affected by teen depression, excessive time spent in front of television or computer may worsen their problem. But this may be triggered by various types of setbacks in their everyday life. Due to excessive time in front of the screen, they may face disruption in their sleeping patterns. There may be interference in their capabilities to develop relationships. There may be problems in controlling their day-to-day life also.

Internet friends may not be real friends

These researchers point out that these teens may be having friends only on the Net and there may be no real friends. They add that this is an alarming situation. These children may have an illusion that they have friends but it is not real. Experts admit that they themselves are treating a number of teens who spend more number of waking hours in front of the computer or television screens.

The problem is that if the other family members also spend more time on the Net, they may not be able to detect the addiction of the children. Parents should realize that they should spend more of their free time with children than spending time on the Net.

In a nutshell, if children spend more time in front of the television or the computer screen, it may harm them to a great extent. They are likely to be affected by teen depression, anxiety disorders. In extreme cases, there may be suicidal thoughts also.

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