(WXYZ) -Teenagers who are glued to their phones for hours could face an increased risk for depression and suicidal behaviors – according to a new study.
Many parents fret over their kid’s cell phone use. This is a warning to all parents, especially those with teen girls.
The effect of screen time on teen brains
Over a half million students aged 13 to 18 took part in anonymous surveys. When the data was broken down, researchers found the number of teens experiencing feelings of hopelessness and severe depression had increased.
But girls were six times more likely than boys to report these feelings. Researchers looked to see what changes had taken place in teen lives and found more time was spent on electronic devices.
This study found half of the teens who spent 5 or more hours looking at screens reported at least one suicide-related behavior like planning or attempting a suicide.
This is especially serious for teen girls as data collected by the CDC found the suicide rate for them increased 65 percent from 2010 to 2015.
I have to point out this study doesn’t prove cause and effect. But it’s still very important for parents to keep a close eye on their kids so here are my prescriptions:
1. Create a phone contract. Outline rules for use, set time limits and be sure to get your teen’s input as well.
2. Create “no phone” areas. Ban them at the dinner table, while doing homework and in the bedroom past bedtime.
3. Talk to your teen about the health dangers of too much screen time. Also, let them know they can talk to you about anything they’re worried about.
4. Get your kids involved in face-to-face activities like sports, clubs and play dates. Interacting with others may be protective when it comes to mental health.
More girls are possibly affected
That’s because boys tend to focus in on games whereas girls focus more on social media.
Girls tend to be more concerned with how they look and how many likes or shares they get with posts. This can wreak havoc on self-image so it’s important to help them develop a healthy self-image.
If you have a child between the ages of 8 and 11, be aware that too much time in front of a screen could affect their brain development. That’s according to a recent study.
Copyright Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.