Social media obsession driving up depression, anxiety levels says study

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Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp and other such platforms and apps have redefined our involvement with those near and dear to us; however, amidst all the positive aspects there is this obsession of being present 24/7 and replying to messages and checking out status updates, photos and comments of others which is increasing risk of depression and heightened anxiety levels, a new study has found.

Researchers at University of Glasgow have revealed through their study of 467 teenagers that the obsession of social media and the constant yet hidden pressure of being there all the time is causing a steep rise in depression and anxiety levels.

Presented at a British Psychological Society conference in Manchester, the study also found that this obsession with social media is responsible for a drop in the quality of sleep – something that has been linked to a range of other problems including PTSD, increased risk of stroke, and even loss of memory to a certain extent.

Dr Heather Cleland Woods and Holly Scott prepared a questionnaire that was handed out to 467 teenagers. The questionnaire asked the teenagers about their overall and night-time specific social media use. The researchers also tested, through a separate test, the quality of sleep of these individuals along with self-esteem, anxiety, depression and emotional investment in social media.

Researchers found that increased emotional investment in social media is a cause for poor sleep, lower self-esteem and even higher anxiety and depression levels. Other factors such as night-time usage of social media aggravates these conditions.

Scientists have long considered adolescence as an age that puts children to increased risk of depression and anxiety, and the latest study shows that there is a possible link between social media use and wellbeing, they are yet to ascertain the cause behind all this.

The study calls for detailed look into how social media is affecting kids and how it may be forcing them into depression.