Today’s teens not happy on the net!

TEENAGERS today are more likely to suffer from depression, and engage in self-harm, compared with those 10 years ago.

It is believed that social media has an influence on the perception of self and body image of the “Generation Z”, or post-millennials.

Most of Generation Z have used the internet since a young age, and are comfortable with technology and social media.

Researchers compared the behaviour of children born 10 years apart (those born in 1991 and 1992, and those born in 2000 and 2001). They also took note of personal characteristics like sex, ethnicity and class background.

They found that only 9% of people born in the Nineties suffered from depression in their teenage years, against 15% for those born in the “social-media generation”. They also found that the younger group was more likely to engage in self-harm, than the older group.

Children born in the Nineties usually had a full night’s sleep during week nights. This was not observed in the younger generation. The researchers attributed poor sleep to increased smartphone and social-media use, which have been linked to symptoms of depression.

The younger generation also has a higher tendency to Photoshop images, or apply photo filters, in an effort to achieve “perfection”. In effect, more and more teenagers suffer from low self-esteem, driven by concerns with self-image and body image.
The increasing trends of poor sleep, obesity and negative body image might help explain rising mental-health difficulties experienced by young people. Striking increases in mental-health difficulties, BMI [body mass index] and poor, sleep-related behaviours, highlight an increasing public-health challenge.

Identifying explanations for these high prevalences and changing trends are key for preventing further poor physical and mental health, for future generations of young people.

But the researchers observed that certain behaviours, that were prevalent during the Nineties, were not as common in the younger generation. The number of children who punched or kicked someone at the age of 14 has decreased from 40% to 28%. Vandalism offences also decreased from 6% to 2%.

Alcohol use has also decreased. At the age of 14, approximately half of the teenagers of the older generation had already tried alcohol. However, this number has dropped to 44%. The same trend was observed with cigarette use. Only 1% of the post-millennials had experienced smoking at the age of 14, compared with 7% of the children from the Nineties.

In previous studies, substance use and antisocial behaviour have been linked to poor mental health. However, researchers noted that while trends show that there is a decrease in these behaviours, it does not necessarily correlate with improved mental health.

“Understanding the nature of these associations, and their dynamic nature, over time, could be valuable in identifying what the risk factors are for mental-health problems, and might help us find potential targets for interventions,” said the researchers.

Studies show that negative thinking is highly related to low self-esteem. Moreover, depression can cloud judgment and the ability to make sound decisions.

Keeping negative thoughts to yourself can only make them worse. Writing thoughts and feelings down in a journal can be a cathartic experience. It will also help you remember all the good things that are present in your life.

Surround yourself with people who see the good in you, and will not judge you for your weaknesses. These people will not only help you to be a stronger person, but will also solidify the positive perception of yourself.


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Posted by on Sep 13 2019. Filed under Health & Beauty. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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