No Such Thing as Facebook Depression
A new study may disprove the long held belief that too much time on Facebook causes depression.
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin have just published the results of a new study which shows there is no link between time spent using Facebook and depression. This contradicts some long held conventional wisdom and speculation by the Academy of Paediatrics report.
This story was first picked up by mainstream media when the Academy of Paediatrics wrote, “Researchers have proposed a new phenomenon called “Facebook depression,” deﬁned as depression that develops when preteens and teens spend a great deal of time on social media sites, such as Facebook, and then begin to exhibit classic symptoms of depression. Acceptance by and contact with peers is an important element of adolescent life. The intensity of the online world is thought to be a factor that may trigger depression in some adolescents.”
Despite the fact that this was just an idea and there was no evidence to support it, Facebook depression became accepted wisdom.
The new study by the University of Wisconsin has completely disproved this notion. They sent survey questions to 190 UW students asking them about their mental health, their internet usage and what they did each day. At the end of the study, each student was screened for depression. The results did not show any link between the amount of time spent on social media and the students likelihood of developing depression.
“Our study is the first to present scientific evidence on the suggested link between social-media use and risk of depression,” said Lauren Jelenchick, researcher at the University of Wisconsin.
While this single study by the University of Wisconsin is by no means conclusive, it is a good first step towards identifying triggers for depression. The researchers believe that while social media does not necessarily negatively affect a person’s mental state, other online activities could. They are warning parents to monitor their child’s online activity and keep an eye out for any sudden changes in mood.