If that’s all it takes: smart phone use and increased teen suicides.
Sorry, if you’re that weak then your genes need to be culled.
And according to research presented in a recent article in The Atlantic, excerpted from a book written by Jean Twenge, a psychologist at San Diego State University, smartphones and social media may deserve a lot of the blame.
“As teens have started spending less time together, they have become less likely to kill one another,” Twenge wrote, “and more likely to kill themselves.”
Over the past decade, psychologists have come to see a picture in which young, developing brains are pitted against the power of brightly colored notifications, relentless pocket vibrations, and addicting apps. A byproduct has been an increase in disorders such as depression and anxiety, which can sometimes be fatal.(snip)
Loneliness seems to be a major factor in why smartphones and social media can contribute to worsening mental health.
“Today’s teens may go to fewer parties and spend less time together in person, but when they do congregate, they document their hangouts relentlessly — on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook,” Twenge wrote. “Those not invited to come along are keenly aware of it.”
In the days before social media, not getting invited to a party still felt bad. But the bad feeling most likely went away within a day or two as people stopped talking about the night’s events. With apps that document every party happening in real time, and preserve those memories forever, there is never a shortage of reminders that you were left out.
Some teens seem to lack a healthy outlet for dealing with those bad feelings. The effects of loneliness have left them emotionally ill-equipped to seek out resources that might improve their mental health. Instead, they bear their psychic pain in private.