Health scare of the week
Social media’s effects on girls
Teenagers who spend hours a day on social media are at an increased risk of suffering from poor sleep and symptoms of depression, a new study has found, with girls appearing to be particularly badly affected. The study, based on interviews with almost 11,000 British 14-year-olds, found that, compared with girls who use social media for one to three hours a day, girls who spend at least five hours daily on Instagram, Snapchat, and the like showed a 50 percent increase in depressive symptoms. Among boys, the heaviest social media users showed a 35 percent increase in depressive symptoms. Lead author Yvonne Kelly, from University College London, calls the gender disparity an “alarming difference.” The study also found that girls tend to spend more time on social media, reports CNN.com: Two-fifths are on it for at least three hours a day, compared with only one-fifth of boys. Teens who used social media the most tended to report having more problems sleeping, and in turn, the children with the worst sleep were more likely to suffer symptoms of depression. Time spent online was also linked to an increased likelihood of being the victim of cyberbullying; girls were more likely to have experienced such bullying.