As the influence of social media continues to permeate the lives of teenagers, a startling trend has emerged: the number of adolescents expressing discontent and a lack of enjoyment in life has doubled in the era of digital connectivity.
The University of Michigan has conducted a poll to access mental health among youth. The poll results show that rates of teen anxiety and depression have risen. The number of teens agreeing to phrases like “I can’t do anything right,” “I do not enjoy life” and “My life is not useful” has doubled in the last 10 years.
The poll has been conducted annually since 1991, with 50,000 students in 8th, 10th, and 12th grades nationwide.
“These are staggering numbers, just enormous increases,” psychologist and generational expert Dr. Jean Twenge told The New York Post. “And parents are rightfully very concerned about their children’s mental health.”
The main reason is non-other than ‘Social Media’. The alarming rise in dissatisfaction among American teens underscores the direct link between excessive screen time and its impact on their lives. The lure of social media, with some teenagers spending nearly half their waking hours scrolling through posts and updates, has left a void in their real-world experiences.
The situation has only been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has magnified existing mental health challenges for Generation Z, compounded by political polarisation and social unrest, ultimately deepening their pessimism about the future they face.
Regrettably, the increase in teen depression has led to a distressing rise in self-harm and suicide rates, making it the second-leading cause of death among young Americans.
Renowned expert, Dr. Jean Twenge, suggested strategies such as delaying smartphone and social media usage and potentially raising the minimum age for social media accounts as means to address this alarming trend.