Can Technology Use Impact Mental Health?

Technology and Mental Health

People often ask me my opinion about how much technology children and teens should have access to, so I decided to write a post about it.  According to an article I just read (see link below), the risk for an 8th grader to get depression increases by 27% with frequent use of social media.  In addition, kids who are on their phones three hours or more per day are at an increased risk of depression.  To some of you, these stats may be surprising.  I can’t say they were surprising to me.

I have been in the mental health field since before social media existed (yes, I am that old).  Over the last several years, I have seen a change.  People seem more disconnected.  Lonelier.  Connection is such an important part of our well-being.  We were meant for relationships.  Media (as we call it in my house), often keeps us from having more meaningful deep connections.  We may even spend time in the same room as others, without engaging with them.  All of us have seen this happen at restaurants…the family or couple sitting next to each other not saying a word.  Each person on their phone.

I have also seen depression decrease for those whose relationships deepen.  Our mood often improves when we feel more deeply connected to those around us.  Talking.  Laughing.  Engaging.  I know there are good things about technology.  For example, it helps us keep in touch with people in our lives, but for most of us, it does not provide the deep connection we need.  Our phones, tablets, and computers aren’t going anywhere, so we need to be intentional about how much time we spend on them.  When we are intentional with our time, we can work to foster deeper relationships.

Here is the link to the article!  Happy reading:)

Written by Dr. Steffanie Stecker


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