Mobile devices have become our alarm clocks and newspapers and, via platforms like Facebook and Instagram, portals to our social lives. With smartphones inhabiting the pockets of roughly three quarters of all Americans and tablets borne by half, a pale blue glow silhouettes modern life.
As screens have become ubiquitous, so has the phenomenon of depressed or suicidal teens, notes Jean Twenge, a psychologist at San Diego State University and the author of iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy—and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood.
In a study published in November in Clinical Psychological Science, Twenge correlates the increasing use of social media, gaming and internet browsing with rising symptoms of depression and suicidal behaviors in teenagers. Importantly, however, other research has shown that some device use—on social media, in particular—might be positive for people struggling with depression or other serious mental illnesses.
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