Smartphone use may increase suicide risks

MNA Life Style Desk: The more time teenagers spend on smartphones and other electronic screens, the more likely they are to feel depressed and attempt suicide, according to a new study.

Screen time should be considered a modern-day risk factor for depression and suicide, said study co-author Thomas Joiner, Professor at Florida State University in the US.

The study, published in the journal Clinical Psychological Science, showed that those who focused more on non-screen activities like sports and exercise, talking to friends face to face and doing homework were more likely to be happy.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics, the suicide rate increased 31 per cent among teenagers from 2010 to 2015.

A US national survey showed that the number of adolescents reporting symptoms of severe depression rose 33 per cent.

Analysing this data, the study found the rise in mental health problems among teenagers since 2010 in the US coincides with an increase in ownership of cell phones.

The researchers discovered that 48 per cent of the teenagers who spent five or more hours per day on electronic devices reported suicide-related behaviour.

The results clearly showed that teens who spent more time on the devices were more likely to be unhappy, said Professor Jean Twenge of San Diego State University.


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