Is your child glued to the screen all the time? Beware, spending more time on screens can lead to suicidal thoughts in teens, a new study says.

Amid a worsening teen mental health crisis and new legislation proposing to ban children under 16 from using social media, a new study found that more screen time among 9- to 11-year-olds is linked to an increased risk of developing suicidal behavior two years later.

Does excessive screen time increase suicidal ideation in teenagers?

Research, publication Preventive medicine, found that each additional hour of screen time was associated with a 9% higher risk of reporting suicidal behavior two years later. Specifically, each additional hour spent watching videos, playing video games, texting, and video chatting was associated with a higher risk of suicidal behavior.

Is screen time killing today’s youth?

“Screen use can lead to social isolation, cyberbullying and sleep disturbances, which can worsen mental health,” said lead author Jason Nagata, professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco. “More screen time often replaces time for social interaction, physical activity and sleep.”

The research builds on current knowledge of the youth mental health crisis. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among teenagers. The study draws on data from the Nationwide Study of Adolescent Brain Development (ABCD), the largest longitudinal study of brain development in the United States. The study collected screen time data for 11,633 children ages 9 to 11 who were followed over two years. The children answered questions about the amount of time they spent on six different screen time modes, as well as suicidal behaviors.

Co-author Kyle T. Ganson, PhD, associate professor at Toronto Factor University, said, “The study was largely conducted before the COVID-19 pandemic, but its findings are particularly relevant as youth mental health worsens during the pandemic.” – InwentaĊŸ Faculty of Social Work. Researchers previously found that teenagers’ screen time doubled to about eight hours a day at the start of the pandemic. JAMA Pediatrics.

Limit screen time to stay fit and healthy

“Screen time can have important benefits such as education and socialization, but parents should try to reduce the negative mental health risks of excessive screen time. Parents should regularly talk to their children about screen use and role model screen behaviorsaid Nagata.

Source: Eurekalert

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