New Study Reveals Major Cause of Depression Among Children

Photo: (Photo : McKaela Taylor / Unsplash )

Depending on how they use their smartphones, the mental health of youth can be affected. Research shows that video games can have a positive effect on boys, but not on girls. While social media use tends to be a less positive experience for boys than for girls.

The major cause of depression can be different based on a gender-a factor which also determines how the child responds to depression.

A newly published study in Psychological Medicine paved the way to understanding the effects of certain screen-time activities on adolescents.

As schools closed and many children and teenagers began to spend long hours in front of their smartphones and computers, the study determined to understand the youth's use of electronic devices further.

ALSO READ: Expert Reveals: Children Who Are Good Video Game Players Are Good Learners

Video Games and Boys: A Positive Correlation

The study linked the use of video games among boys to a lower risk of depressive symptoms. However, girls did not have a significantly lower risk of depression with video games.

The study of over 11,000 adolescents showed that when boys played video games at least once a month, they had lower depression scores than boys who played less often.

In particular, the researchers determined that boys with lower activity levels are the ones who have lower risk factors for depression from playing video games.

The study suggested such boys are able to meet their needs of fun and social interaction through video games where they may not through sports or physical activity.

Social Media and Girls: A Negative Correlation

A higher risk of depressive symptoms is linked to the frequent use of social media for girls, Healthline revealed.  Boys, however, are not as affected as girls when it came to social media use.

The study also showed that frequent use of social media resulted in higher depression scores in girls compared to girls who rarely use or never used social media.

ALSO READ: Social Media Overuse: The Reason Why Teenagers Are Not Getting The Right Amount Of Sleep

Symptoms of Depression among Boys and Girls

How teen boys and girls react to depression also varies, according to research on depressed adolescents over the course of 10 years. Boys can become more restless, irritable, and show difficulty in concentrating and sleeping.

Meanwhile, depressed girls have feelings of guilt, worthlessness, fatigue, and punishment, NCBI revealed. Further, boys may have more suicidal thoughts and desires to reduce pleasure.

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Teen Depression, More Worrisome for Parents of Girls, Than Boys

Major depression among adolescent girls in the U.S. is rising at a faster rate than that of boys. The rate of teen girls being admitted to the emergency room for self-harming tripled in 5 years and the suicide rate for teen girls doubled. However, the number of teen boys who struggle with self-harm, suicide, and depression has also increased.

The Conversation found that the way adolescents spend their digital time made a difference in their mental health. For instance, boys spent more time on gaming while girls spent more time on social media.

Gaming involves real-time interaction, talking to each other on their headsets. Yet, only responses from social media can elicit anxiety. Further, unhealthy comparisons on social media also increase the risk of depressive symptoms.

Overall, teens who spend more time on digital media tend to exhibit more depression and unhappiness. But, the link is stronger for girls.

More time spent on social media also increases unhappiness for girls-especially those who spend 6 hours or more on social media. The main reason for the difference is that there is more pressure for girls, appearance-wise.

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