Effect of Social Media on Teen Depression

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An essay I had to do for school.

Submitted: April 22, 2015

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Submitted: April 22, 2015



The Effects of Social Media on Teen Depression

A 17 year-old boy is sitting in his fourth block almost in tears after his girlfriend of two years broke up with him at lunch. His face is as motionless as a deer in the headlights. He has no idea of what to do to ease his pain. Due to him being too depressed and detached from everyone is the reason she broke up with him. She did not want to be his only support, and she thought by doing this, he would get help. That is as far from the truth as Florida from Alaska. Imagine the feeling of emptiness that overcame him, the feeling that nothing matters anymore. He sat there in class, blank-faced, holding in all the emotions, and coming to the worse conclusion. People were mocking him for crying. People were texting him, direct messaging him, telling him that he should just kill himself because he is nothing without the cheer captain on his arm now (Witmer). Depression is caused by many things, and media plays a huge part in how much teenagers are affected by it. It is a major issues in our society today and is only getting worse.

Everyone is a target of social media, especially teenagers who are often very emotional and can be easily sucked into the media. Some feel as if though they are in a trench, with no way to escape. They are emotionally suffocating, drowning in an ocean of abandonment, a sea of hateful words thrown at them, hitting their hearts like bricks. It will never be a teenager's fault for what is said to them, because only those who have such cruel things flow out of their mouths can control what they say. Countless people have this feeling every single day. Most have no clue what is going on, what happens behind the screens of computers. Even once it is noticed, the majority of adults are incapable of bringing it up in conversation correctly. Through the influence of social media, depression is increased, causing those affected to resort to promiscuous activities such as drugs or alcohol usage.

No one has ever denied nor proven that social media actually makes depression worse in adolescents. However, it has been proven to have a major effect and influence on them. In America, a person commits suicide due to depression about every 12.8 seconds (Suicide). If we do the math, that is about 6,750 deaths per day. Almost 7,000 deaths a day due to one disorder is a lot. Major Depressive Disorder is known as the leading cause for suicide in the U.S (Callaghan). Almost 2,000 of those 7,000 deaths, are teenagers or young adults (Callaghan). This means that thirty-five percent of the suicide deaths per day due only to depression, are young adults and teenagers. Teenagers that are depressed tend to try to spend twice the average amount of time on social media or watching television (Strasburger). They also leave the house less, may have an increase or decrease in appetite, and do not enjoy things that they use to (Strasburger). Suicide is the third leading cause for deaths amongst ages 15 through 25, which broadens the spectrum. One could commit suicide due to depression, a major loss, anxiety, being tormented or harassed, etc. After a statement like that, one might think that they age group just recalled is responsible for the most suicides. However, that is not true. The elderly, ages 65 and older take part in more than twenty percent of all suicides (Suicide).

Cyberbullying plays a huge part in depression of teenagers via social media (Theobald). Cyberbullying is the harassment by one being to another using social media. Cyberbullying is seen as a cruel and unusual thing to do towards another human. However, by most teenagers, it is seen as a big joke, unless you are on the receiving end of the situation. During most assemblies, a teenager’s parents will come and and speak about their child committing suicide due to being cyberbullied. That teen is dead, and is no longer here due to the hateful words of another human being. When you think about it, it is really sad,  even pathetic that someone could ever stoop so low and make someone - who most likely did nothing to them - want to kill him or herself, or go through with it. However, the majority of  teens will sit and laugh, joke about it, and make fun of it. The majority of teens do not care one little bit, or at least they do not seem too. The pretending factor of this can also tie into the rate of depression due to someone trying to fit in.

The rate of depression has increased tremendously due to the increase in popularity of social media. The use of antidepressants attempting to treat a major depressive disorder have increased four hundred percent since 1988, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (Nauert). There is more than 1 in 10 Americans over age 12 that now takes an antidepressant (Suicide). There is only one possible reason as to why there was such a large increase in the depression rate. In 1988, technology started improving rapidly for the following fifteen years, and has not slowed down since. Phones, computers, social media, and even wifi became more popular and affordable during that time (Wilkinson). The CDC also reported that a survey of students in grades ninth through twelfth at schools in the United States revealed that sixteen percent of students reported seriously considering suicide, thirteen percent reported creating a plan, and eight percent reported trying to take their own life in the twelve months prior to the survey being taken.

Certain societies breed depression, and certain societies do not. Unfortunately, the U.S. is a society that breeds it. The main cause for this, has been found to be that we are more advanced technologically than most countries, especially when it comes to social media. We also use it more often. Teenagers that are depressed are likely to spend 2 times the amount as the average teenager on or using social media sites, such as Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter. Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is actually listed as the “nation’s leading mental health problem” Callaghan). Other countries, such as Uganda, face health issues and diseases as their leading cause for death. Uganda is also on the list of the least developed countries (LDCs) (Least).

There are many ways to get help. There are many myths and misconceptions when it comes to having depression. One myth is that if one jokes about depression, they are not depressed. This is not normally true because if someone is depressed, they don’t want to say it directly, but will hint at it. They may also be trying to hide the fact that they are depressed by joking about it or making fun of it. Another myth is that if they are depressed enough to commit suicide, they are crazy, or psychotic. This is entirely untrue. The person may have a psychological disorder, but that does not make them crazy. A myth or misconception about suicide is that it most often occurs in the middle of the night or during full moons. This is wrong because most suicides have actually been proven to occur in midday to early evening . There are multiple forms of help, such as: counseling, psychiatric institutions, therapists, etc.


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