Is Teen Depression Linked to Cell Phones?

Ellory Brossette

It seems obvious to many that today’s youth is struggling a considerable amount more than past generations with the issue of mental and emotional health. While most have their own opinions on this subject, recent studies have shown that this alarming new influx in depression among teens is more than just a coincidence. The studies have shown that social media and cell phone usage play a significant part in the current peak in teen depression and suicide.

In a study by Jean Twenge and other researchers, it was revealed that the prominence of teen depression “increased 52 percent from 2005 to 2017.” A similar study done by Vox revealed that the number of high school students possessing suicidal thoughts has increased by more than 25 percent since 2009. Though these statistics are immediately alarming, the reports of the spike in teen depression have something in common that may lead us closer to a solution.

An important note is that the youth of society began struggling more frequently with emotional health at around the same time as cell phone usage became a growing phenomenon. This provides a probable correlation between phones and depression, leading many to believe SmartPhones are the main culprit in the current mental state of many teens.

However, while the studies done on the topic show probable evidence that phone usage is the answer to the issue many of today’s teens face, the research is currently inconclusive. This puts those trying to put an end to the prominence of mood disorders in teens in a difficult situation. Since there is not yet a clear way to know for sure if cutting back on screen time or shying away from social media is the answer to the problem, it remains mysterious, without the quick fix many of us hoped to find.

Though it may not quite be time to take away your child’s phone in hopes to prevent them from facing the hardships of depression and/or poor mental health, research on the issue is growing more reliable every day. When enough information is gathered in the near future, researchers claim that they will know for sure whether cell phones are truly causing the rise in teen depression.

Above all, it is important to remember to treat the topic with care and sensitivity. Linked to phones or not, researchers are working hard to find the cause in the change in mental health among today’s teens. Until this is done effectively, the most we can do is remember to remain patient and be open about the topic when it is being discussed. Always offer support to those in need, and never be afraid to ask for it in return.