Teens, Depression, and New Media

Staggering stats underscore the need to get your kids off the phone and into real life.


John Stonestreet

Jared Hayden

The number of teens experiencing symptoms of depression are higher than ever. According to research from psychologist Jean Twenge, 49.5% of teens report that they feel they “can’t do anything right,” 44.2% report that they feel their “life is not useful,” and 48.9% say they “do not enjoy life.”  

Each of these findings is roughly double what they were in 2009.  

These stats are the latest in a growing body of research that demonstrates a significant link between teens’ mental health and their usage of new media. The combination of smartphones, internet, and social media platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter is dramatically harmful especially when contrasted with those who spend time participating in in-person activities like sports and religious services.  

For families who hope to help their teens avoid or overcome depression, the best starting place is to restrict usage of smartphones and social media. All families should proactively cultivate healthy disciplines with devices, as well as habits and choices that promote real-time, in-person relationships. 


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