Tuesday December 10, 2019

Study Says, Social Media Use May Not Make Kids Depressed

Mental health is a multi-process syndrome, where no one stressor is likely to be the cause of depression or anxiety

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Social Media
According to the researchers, this increase d use of Social Media, though, did not predict future mental health. That is, adolescents' increase in social networking beyond their typical levels did not predict changes in anxiety or depression. Pixabay

The amount of time spent on Social Media is not directly adding to the anxiety or depression issues in teenagers, say reseachers from Brigham Young University.

The study, published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, shows that it is not merely the amount of time spent on social media that’s leading to an increase in depression or anxiety among adolescents.

“We spent eight years trying to really understand the relationship between time spent on social media and depression for developing teenagers,” said study author Sarah Coyne, Professor at Brigham Young University in the US.

“If they increased their social media time, would it make them more depressed? Also, if they decreased their social media time, were they less depressed? The answer is no. We found that time spent on social media was not what was impacting anxiety or depression,” Coyne added.

Social Media
Researchers suggest some healthier ways to use Social Media: Be an active user instead of a passive user. Instead of just scrolling, actively comment, post and like other content. Pixabay

Mental health is a multi-process syndrome, where no one stressor is likely to be the cause of depression or anxiety.

For the study, researchers worked with 500 youth between the ages of 13 and 20, who completed once-yearly questionnaires over an eight-year span.

Social media use was measured by asking participants how much time they spent on social networking sites on a typical day.

To measure depression and anxiety, participants responded to questions with different scales to indicate depressive symptoms and anxiety levels.

These results were then analysed on an individual level to see if there was a strong correlation between the two variables.

At age 13, adolescents reported an average social networking use of 31-60 minutes per day.

Social Media
The amount of time spent on Social Media is not directly adding to the anxiety or depression issues in teenagers, say reseachers from Brigham Young University. Pixabay

These average levels increased steadily so that by young adulthood, they were reporting upwards of two hours per day.

According to the researchers, this increase of social networking, though, did not predict future mental health. That is, adolescents’ increase in social networking beyond their typical levels did not predict changes in anxiety or depression one year later.

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Researchers suggest some healthier ways to use Social Media: Be an active user instead of a passive user. Instead of just scrolling, actively comment, post and like other content.

Limit social media use at least an hour before falling asleep. Getting enough sleep is one of the most protective factors for mental health, the researchers said. (IANS)

Next Story

Deep Sleep Can Reduce Higher Anxiety Levels

A Study strongly suggests that insufficient sleep amplifies levels of anxiety and, conversely, that deep sleep helps reduce such stress

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Deep
Deep Sleep had restored the brain's prefrontal mechanism that regulates our emotions, lowering emotional and physiological reactivity and preventing the escalation of anxiety. Pixabay

Researchers have found that the type of Sleep most apt to calm and reset the anxious brain is deep sleep, also known as non-rapid eye movement (NREM) slow-wave sleep, a state in which neural oscillations become highly synchronised, and heart rates and blood pressure drops.

A sleepless night can trigger up to a 30 per cent rise in anxiety levels, researchers from the University of California said.

“We have identified a new function of deep sleep, one that decreases anxiety overnight by reorganising connections in the brain,” said study senior author Professor Matthew Walker.

“Deep sleep seems to be a natural anxiolytic (anxiety inhibitor), so long as we get it each and every night,” Walker added.

“Our study strongly suggests that insufficient sleep amplifies levels of anxiety and, conversely, that deep sleep helps reduce such stress,” said study lead author Eti Ben Simon.

In a series of experiments using functional MRI and polysomnography, among other measures, researchers scanned the brains of 18 young adults as they viewed emotionally stirring video clips after a full night of sleep, and again after a sleepless night.

Anxiety levels were measured following each session via a questionnaire known as the state-trait anxiety inventory.

After a night of no sleep, brain scans showed a shutdown of the medial prefrontal cortex, which normally helps keep our anxiety in check, while the brain’s deeper emotional centres were overactive.

Deep
Researchers have found that the type of Sleep most apt to calm and reset the anxious brain is Deep sleep, also known as non-rapid eye movement (NREM) slow-wave sleep, a state in which neural oscillations become highly synchronised, and heart rates and blood pressure drops. Pixabay

After a full night of sleep, during which participants’ brain waves were measured via electrodes placed on their heads, the results showed their anxiety levels declined significantly, especially for those who experienced more slow-wave NREM sleep.

“Deep sleep had restored the brain’s prefrontal mechanism that regulates our emotions, lowering emotional and physiological reactivity and preventing the escalation of anxiety,” Simon said.

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Beyond gauging the sleep-anxiety connection in the 18 original study participants, the researchers replicated the results in a study of another 30 participants.

Across all the participants, the results again showed that those who got more nighttime deep sleep experienced the lowest levels of anxiety the next day.  (IANS)