The increased use of Social media leads to suicidal thoughts and actions in teenagers. A study done by the Washington Times shows that there has been an increase in suicide rates among teens. Federal data and numerous national surveys of more than 500,000 teenagers granted researchers to find a clear connection between when smartphones and social media were created ten years ago and an increase in reports of mental health problems. “From 2010 to 2015, a record number of teenagers were reporting depressive symptoms and overloading mental health clinics, while suicide rates climbed for the first time in decades”, said psychologist Jean Twenge.
Forty-eight percent of teenagers who spent five hours or more on their electronic devices per day had suicide-related results such as attempting suicide, making suicide plans, or thinking about suicide. However, only twenty-eight percent of teens who spent one or two hours on their phones per day showed a lower rate of suicidal thoughts and actions (Laura Kelly). The suicide rate ages 15 to 19 reached a 40-year high among teenage girls in 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The rates rose by more than 30 percent for teenage boys and nearly doubled for teenage girls between 2007 and 2015. Between girls and boys, girls are more likely to report self-harm.
From 2011 to 2014, in girls ages 13-16, self-harm increased 68 percent (Elizabeth Chuck). As humans, it is important to be healthy mentally, not riddled with anxiety, which is why it is pertinent to use only a limited amount of social media. Social media can be addictive. MIT’s Sloan Management Review reported an experiment where professors at two business schools located in Italy and France made their students give up their phone for one day.
Three-fourths of the students felt some amount of anxiety without their phones. They didn’t know what to do with all the extra free time. They also identified how often people who did have phones checked them. One student pointed out that his friend checked his phone four times in a 10 minute period. In the U.S., there was a study which also had teenagers give up their phones. They found that these students were in “withdrawal” from the lack of going on their phones and performed worse on mental tasks.
They felt physiological symptoms, like increased blood pressure and heart rate (Alice G. Walton). In another study, Researchers at Chicago University found that an addiction to social media can be stronger than an addiction to cigarettes and alcohol, following an experiment in which they recorded the cravings of several hundred people for several weeks. Cravings for alcohol and cigarettes ranked second and third behind social media cravings (Leslie Walker). Social media sites can be prone to spreading false information. According to Brendan Nyhan, a professor of government at Dartmouth College, “Facebook, Google, and Twitter function as a distribution mechanism, a platform for circulating false information and helping find receptive audiences.
” “Fake news” is a term that indicates sources have not been checked responsibly and proven to be true. The majority of fake news that flooded the internet during 2016 was about the presidential election. The written pieces and recorded segments promoted conspiracy theories and false information. These stories were only spread further by social media sites, which in turn led to hundreds of thousand of people seeing them, who didn’t know if they were real or not. Most people who read an article have no idea if it’s true or not, and just because it’s on the internet people tend to believe whatever they read is true, however this is not always the case. According to a December 2016 survey by the Pew Research Center, 23 percent of U.
S. adults have shared fake news, knowingly or unknowingly, with friends and others.