Social networks 'make teenage girls depressed'

2nd Feb 2009 | 09:11

Social networks 'make teenage girls depressed'

Study suggests digital world is bad for kids

A new study compiled by Stony Brook University in New York has found that excessive chatting on social-networking sites, like Facebook, can lead to depression and anxiety in young teenage girls.

The study, which looked in-depth into the lives of 83 13-year-old girls, found that "Texting, instant messaging and social networking make it very easy for adolescents to become even more anxious, which can lead to depression."

Dr Davila and her colleague Lisa Starr, who conducted the research, interviewed the girls about their social-networking habits, then contacted them a year later to see how their mental health was.

After testing the teenagers for depressive symptoms they found that talking about their problems too much, either online or through text message, was significantly linked with higher levels of depression.

Excessive talking blamed

Speaking about the findings, Dr Davila said: "We wanted to start the process at the beginning and follow them over time to see what happens.

"Lots of talking can help if those involved have strong problem-solving skills because it helps them reach a solution and it builds friendships.

"They often don't realise [however] that excessive talking is actually making them feel worse."

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