Teens, media and depression

A new study looked at the relationship between media use and mental health. But that does not answer the big question, “Why do most teenagers fall into depression nowadays?” A new study suggests that the more teenagers watch television, the more likely they are to develop depression as young adults. However the extent to which television may or may not to be blamed is a question that the study leaves unanswered.

The researchers used a national long term survey of adolescent health to investigate the relationship between media use and depression. They based their findings on more than 4000 adolescents who were not depressed when the survey began in 1995. In the survey, young people were asked how many hours of television or videos they watched daily. They were also asked how often they played computer games and listened to the radio. Media use totaled in average of five and half hours a day, more than two hours of that was spent watching the television and the remaining was spent on computer games and radio.

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Seven years later in 2002, more than 7 per cent of the young people had signs of depression; the average age at that time was 21. Brian Primack at the University of Pittsburg Medical School was the lead author of the new study. He says every extra hour of television meant an eight per cent increase in the chance of developing signs of depression. The researchers say they did not find any such relationship with the use of other media such as movies, video games or radio, but the study did find out that young men were more likely to develop depression than young women given the same amount of media use. Doctor Primack says that the study did not explore if watching television causes depression, but one possibility is that it may take time away from activities that could help prevent depression like sports and socializing.

The use of advanced technology and also internet especially social media has boosted the level of depression in both male and female. A medical practitioner once said that the medical line that will most likely be lucrative in today’s world now is psychiatry because of the rate at which the younger generation uses the media- it makes them see themselves as what they are not and if they strive and do not reach that stage then depressiton sets in. After that, their mental health starts to deteriorate from too much workload and the next stage after depression is mental illness.

Aborishade Idunnuoluwa Abisola,

Kwara State.