How Screens are Causing Depression in Teens?

How Screens are Causing Depression in Teens?

How Screens are Causing Depression in Teens

Technology has become part of our lives. That’s something that we can’t argue against. However, as we start to take devices like smartphones and computers for granted, we don’t really take a moment to understand what these things can do to us. Teenagers are spending more and more time on their phones, playing games on the TV, or surfing the web on a laptop. Screens are causing depression in teens, but a lot of parents don’t realize this side-effect of technology. Let’s take a closer look at how tech is contributing to mental health issues in high school students.

The Mental Impact of Screens

In a recent study, researchers found that about 97% of students use their smartphones while they’re at school. They also found that students spend an average of four or more hours on their phones throughout the day. Another shocking discovery is that some students who participated in the study picked up their phones 498 times in a single day.

Another report shows that the average teenager plays video games for about two hours every day.

When teens spend so much time on digital screens, it can eventually take a toll on their mental health. That’s something that parents don’t always recognize. There are several ways in which screens contribute to depression in teenagers, and that’s what we want to focus on.

Sleep Disturbances

First, we have to consider the impact that screens have on a teen’s sleep. Let’s say a teenager goes to bed with their phone. At this point, they start browsing the internet, scroll through their social media apps, or perhaps decide to play a mobile game. This can go on for hours, cutting into their sleep time.

Teens generally have a set time they need to wake up in the morning, as they have to get ready for school, after all.

When the teen has a fixed eight hours to sleep, then spending three hours playing games and mindlessly scrolling through social media, it means they now only have five hours to sleep.

It’s recommended that teens get at least eight hours of sleep a night. This gives their bodies enough time to recover and prepare for the next day.

Sleep deprivation, especially when it becomes a chronic concern, is linked to an increased risk of depression. It then becomes a cycle. A teenager spends too much time on a screen, which cuts into their sleep time. They then develop depression as a result, and depression further interferes with their ability to get a good night’s sleep.


Another issue that we need to address when it comes to teens and screens is the fact that cyberbullying is on the rise.

Bullying in school is nothing new, but with the advancement of technology, a lot of teens now take to the internet to continue these habits.

The thing that you need to understand here is that violence fuel mental health crisis in kids. Both sides of cyberbullying can get hurt. The bully feels anger and has a reason for being the way they are. They decide to target other kids through different ways - perhaps directly through instant message platforms, or by harassing a fellow student on social media.

At this point, the victim experiences emotional distress. That leads to depression and can even trigger other mental disorders, such as anxiety.

Social Norms

There’s another way in which screens cause depression among teens - and that’s due to the fact that social media often sets “social norms”.

A teenager goes onto TikTok and sees the latest fashion trends. However, they can’t afford this trend or perhaps their body type isn’t a good fit. When teens see these people on TikTok, Facebook, X, and other social platforms, it creates an ideal in their minds. When they aren’t able to match that ideal, issues with their body image start to develop.

Body image plays an important role in a teenager’s life. When a teen feels unhappy with their body, a poor body image can lead to feelings of depression.

Final Thoughts

Teens are spending a lot of time on their phones and computers or playing video games on TV in the modern day. While there’s no harm in allowing your teen to play games or use their phone for short periods of time, excessive use of these technologies can be harmful. Studies have shown that this behavior increases the risk of depression, sleep disturbances, and other complications in teens.