Saturday Star - - METRO -

GIRLS are twice as likely to show signs of de­pres­sion linked to so­cial me­dia by the age of 14 when com­pared with boys, ac­cord­ing to re­search.

Re­searchers at Uni­ver­sity Col­lege Lon­don found that girls tend to spend more time on so­cial me­dia and also ex­pe­ri­ence worse psy­cho­log­i­cal ef­fects from do­ing so.

They said two ma­jor fac­tors which cause so­cial me­dia to im­pact men­tal health for both gen­ders are on­line ha­rass­ment and in­ter­rupted sleep.

The pa­per, pub­lished yes­ter­day in the Eclin­i­cal Medicine jour­nal, is the first of its kind to look at as­so­ci­a­tions be­tween so­cial me­dia and de­pres­sive symp­toms. It an­a­lysed data from nearly 11 000 14-yearolds from the Mil­len­nium Co­hort Study.

The study in­volved teenagers com­plet­ing in­for­ma­tion on their so­cial me­dia use, on­line ha­rass­ment and sleep pat­terns.

Girls were heav­ier so­cial me­dia users, with two-fifths us­ing it for more than three hours per day com­pared with one-fifth of boys.

The find­ings in­di­cated that 38% of heavy so­cial me­dia users – those us­ing it for five or more hours a day – showed signs of se­vere de­pres­sion.

Mean­while, 40% of girls had ex­pe­ri­ence of on­line ha­rass­ment, com­pared with just 25% of boys.

Shirley Cramer, of the Royal So­ci­ety of Pub­lic Health, said: “This re­search con­firms that we need to in­crease aware­ness and un­der­stand­ing among par­ents, schools and pol­i­cy­mak­ers about the role of so­cial me­dia in our young peo­ple’s men­tal health, par­tic­u­larly the in­creased risks for girls.” | Daily Mail

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