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Increased Hours Online Correlate With An Uptick In Teen Depression, Suicidal Thoughts – NPR

Meanwhile, she says, the surveys suggested that hours spent in face-to-face activities — sports, parties, even just going to the mall with friends — seemed to be protective.

The study drew on survey data from half a million U.S. teenagers from 2010 to 2015. martin-dm/Getty Images hide caption

Between 2010 and 2015 Twenge found the number of teens who answered #8220;yes#8221; to three or more of these questions increased significantly, from 16 percent in 2010 to 22 percent in 2015.

#8220;These include things like depression, thinking about suicide, making a plan to commit suicide and then actually having attempted suicide at some point in the past,#8221; Twenge says.

Her research found that teens who spent the most time on their electronic devices were more likely to also show signs of depression.

Twenge responds that though her findings don#8217;t prove cause and effect, they are in synch with results from other studies, including some randomized trials — that have found that when people spend less time on electronic devices they tend to be happier and less lonely.

Her team found an increase in suicidal thoughts over that time period and, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an increase in suicide deaths among teens from 1,386 in 2010 to 1,769 in 2015.

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