Though there are a few experts who opine that victims of teen depression may try to find solace in video games or in browsing the Internet, a study conducted during 2010 could not categorically conclude that teens affected by depression indulge in excessive media use.
Study conducted in 2010
In this study, 12,395 teenagers were examined and many of them had behavior problems like use of alcohol, drugs, tobacco. There were teens who were overweight, who led sedentary lives, who were affected by reduced sleep or who were using the media excessively. Researchers define high-media use as watching television, using the Internet or playing video games for more than five hours a day. These researchers could find a group that was not as visible as other groups that met this category of showing links between psychiatric symptoms and excessive media use.
If you look at the real situation that prevails now, you will come to know that even normal teens of today are spending long hours on Internet and other media. So, the categorical conclusion that victims of teen depression are excessively involving themselves in video games and the Internet may be wrong.
Lacuna in the study
But the study did not involve measuring if there was depression in these teens prior to they starting to spend excessive time on the Internet or on video games. It was not possible for them to categorically conclude if depression came first or the habit of resorting to the Internet or video games was responsible for depression.
What should parents do?
These researchers are of the opinion that excessive engagement on the Internet or on video games does not increase the risks associated with teen depression. But parents should watch if their teens are watching television excessively or spending more time on the Net or playing video games. Such behaviors may indicate that they may have been affected by teen depression.
This means that excessive TV watching or excessive time on the Net or video games may be associated with depression but they are not the results. They are not the causes for depression also.
Parents should not make hasty conclusions that victims of teen depression resort to video games and Internet. But they must understand that both may be associated.
Study conducted during 2012
Another research conducted during 2012 involved 216 students and this research was conducted without the knowledge of these teens. The research reveals that the way depressed children use the Net is much different from how normal teens use. Children affected by depression spend more time on the Net chatting with friends and others.
Though the findings of the study that was conducted in 2012 contradict the findings of the research of 2010, the fact remains that there are links between teen depression and spending excessive time online.
No need for any confusion
Parents may be confused by the findings of these researches. The best way is to keep a close watch on the behaviors of these young children. If parents find any abnormal behaviors including spending more time on the Net or on video games, they should immediately become alert and delve deep into such behaviors. If the problem of teen depression is confirmed, they should not delay consultations with experts and giving the children appropriate treatment.