Review of evidence finds excessive smartphone, social media use may be linked to youth mental health

February 10, 2020

A new article in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) reviews evidence that suggests an association between excessive smartphone and social media use and mental distress and suicidality among adolescents. The authors say this should be among the factors considered by clinicians and researchers who work in the field of youth mental health: http://www.cmaj.ca/lookup/doi/10.1503/cmaj.190434

The analysis, led by The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), focuses on smartphone use and does not consider online gaming. It contains guidance for physicians, parents and teachers on how to help teens manage smartphone and social media use for a healthy balance between sleep, academic work, social activity, interpersonal relationships and online activity.

"Physicians, teachers and families need to work together with youth to decrease possible harmful effects of smartphones and social media on their relationships, sense of self, sleep, academic performance, and emotional well-being," says lead author Dr. Elia Abi-Jaoude, Staff Psychiatrist, SickKids, and Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario.

Topics discussed in the analysis include:"Given the importance of engaging youth in mitigating potential harms from social media, a prohibitionist approach would be counterproductive," write the authors.

"For adolescents today, who have not known a world without social media, digital interactions are the norm, and the potential benefits of online access to productive mental health information -- including media literacy, creativity, self-expression, sense of belonging and civic engagement -- as well as low barriers to resources such as crisis lines and Internet-based talking therapies cannot be discounted."

Suggestions to help teens manage smartphone and social media use include:Resources, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics Family Media Use Plan, a Family Media Toolkit and information from the Center for Humane Technology provide tips on how to develop social media use plans and support youth.

A recent poll from the US indicates that 54% of teens think they spend too much time on their smartphones and about half said they were cutting back on usage.

"Encouragingly, youth are increasingly recognizing the negative impact of social media on their lives and starting to take steps to mitigate it," write the authors.
-end-
"Smartphones, social media use and youth mental health" is published February 10, 2020.

Podcast permanent link: https://soundcloud.com/cmajpodcasts/190434-ana

Canadian Medical Association Journal

Related Mental Health Articles from Brightsurf:

Mental health strained by disaster
A new study found that suicide rates increase during all types of disasters -- including severe storms, floods, hurricanes and ice storms -- with the largest overall increase occurring two years after a disaster.

The mental health impact of pandemics for front line health care staff
New research shows the impact that pandemics have on the mental health of front-line health care staff.

World Mental Health Day -- CACTUS releases report of largest researcher mental health survey
On the occasion of 'World Mental Health Day' 2020, CACTUS, a global scientific communications company, has released a global survey on mental health, wellbeing and fulfilment in academia.

Mental illness, mental health care use among police officers
A survey study of Texas police officers examines how common mental illness and mental health care use are in a large urban department.

COVID-19 outbreak and mental health
The use of online platforms to guide effective consumption of information, facilitate social support and continue mental health care delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic is discussed in this Viewpoint.

COVID-19 may have consequences for mental health
The COVID-19 pandemic appears to be adversely affecting mental health among hospitalised patients, the healthcare professionals treating them and the general population.

Mental health outcomes among health care workers during COVID-19 pandemic in Italy
Symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and insomnia among health care workers in Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic are reported in this observational study.

Mental ill health 'substantial health concern' among police, finds international study
Mental health issues among police officers are a 'substantial health concern,' with around 1 in 4 potentially drinking at hazardous levels and around 1 in 7 meeting the criteria for post traumatic stress disorder and depression, finds a pooled data analysis of the available international evidence, published online in Occupational & Environmental Medicine.

Examining health insurance nondiscrimination policies with mental health among gender minority individuals
A large private health insurance database was used to examine the association between between health insurance nondiscrimination policies and mental health outcomes for gender minority individuals.

Mental health care for adolescents
Researchers examined changes over time in the kinds of mental health problems for which adolescents in the United States received care and where they got that care in this survey study with findings that should be interpreted within the context of several limitations including self-reported information.

Read More: Mental Health News and Mental Health Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.