Social media increases symptoms of depression in young people

Look. Only in the last 10 minutes, how many times did you check your cell phone to see if they had new notifications from social networks?

With the cell phone always in our hands, we are constantly connected, usually dividing our attention on more than one platform.

Bombarded with photos, news, comments, messages, stories and videos, we are more and more anxious and with the feeling of not being able to consume all this, as if we were missing something.

From this behavior, a problem arises that affects not only our social life and the way we present ourselves, but also hurts our mental health .

Read more: Janeiro Branco: campaign encourages mental health care

To understand how social media can interfere with our emotions, especially among teenagers, a new study was carried out and published in the scientific journal The Lancet .

The research was based on data collected from 10,904 adolescents aged 14 and found, using various methods, that it is the female audience that most presents symptoms of depression associated with social media.

For girls who spend 5 hours or more daily connected to the technologies, the risk of suffering from the disorders is 50% – in boys who stay online for the same amount of time, the percentage drops to 35%.

According to the survey, teenagers who spend most of the day connected, in addition to presenting the symptoms of depression , also have a greater relationship with self – esteem problems , online harassment, insomnia and body image problems.

FOMO: the fear of being left out

Fear of being left out, or FOMO ( Fear of missing out ), is an expression used to describe the constant desire to stay connected to social media so as not to miss what others may be doing.

Associated with this desire, it is common for users to show regret and sadness when they feel that they are missing the event that they could not go to, the show that was unable to buy the ticket and all the social events that they are watching only on the mobile screen.

All of this creates greater anxiety and frustration.

Despite being described as a relatively recent phenomenon and not being considered a disease or disorder, FOMO is a risk to the mental health of young people.

Also read: WHO warns of cases of mental disorders in adolescence

Conscious and healthy use of social media

It is difficult to establish how many hours per day spent on social media would be ideal. However, some changes in habits can help people to have a healthier relationship with these technologies, without having to stop using them and without making them an addiction.

Here are some tips:

  • Disable sound notifications on your cell phone;
  • Monitor usage time on social networks;
  • Sleep without your cell phone nearby, leaving it in another room in the house. For those who use it as an alarm clock and find it difficult to keep it away, it may be necessary to use different types of alarms so as not to lose time, like a conventional alarm clock;
  • Warn that you will be offline for a moment, to avoid notifications at all times;
  • Analyze patterns and understand in which situations you feel the need to always be connected, so it will be possible to get around this habit;
  • Try to perform activities without a phone, such as physical activities, cinema, yoga, going out with friends, etc .;
  • Set aside a time of the day as a “check time” instead of checking all the time for new messages, such as going for coffee or taking a break from work or study;
  • Find other activities that give you pleasure in your free time, such as reading, taking walks in the open air;
  • Better select the amount and type of content you consume, so you will spend less time online to check your contacts’ updates and will have consumed only the subjects that are really useful and interesting to you.

Keeping an eye on the symptoms of depression

Depression is a mental disorder that manifests physical and psychological symptoms in those who suffer from the condition.

Among the physical symptoms, which are usually more noticeable, are sudden weight loss or gain, fatigue and irregular sleep.

However, psychological symptoms are the ones that can go unnoticed and require a careful look from those who live with people in this situation.

It is important to note if the person shows signs such as depressed mood, lack of interest, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, impaired concentration and suicidal thoughts, so that it is possible to guide them to seek help from a professional.

Read more: Symptoms of depression (physical, psychological, postpartum): what are they?


Social media are tools that add to our daily lives several positive points. They facilitate interaction and exchange of information, being a form of entertainment and knowledge.

But, they can also be dangerous when used in excess, as the study presented pointed out.

Therefore, it is essential that people are more aware of the risks of overuse and have access to and knowledge of ways to prevent and treat symptoms of depression and other mental disorders.

Taking care of mental health is indispensable! Therefore, when identifying with the symptoms, seek help from a psychologist or psychiatrist.

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to share this information with your friends and family!

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