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New Research: Different Types of Media Use Is Linked to Suicide Risk for Teenage Girls and Boys

What kind of study was this?

This was an observational study, which means researchers did not separate participants into groups and intervene with any experimental changes. All the researchers did was give surveys to adolescents over time and observe how different variables changed and whether there were significant connections between variables and changes in variables. This study was part of a much larger study that examines many different variables in family life.

What did researchers want to know?

This particular study was focused on the connection between suicide risk and social media, video game, and television use in adolescents.

What did the researchers actually do?

They did two things: first, they looked at how media use (measured through self-report) and suicide risk (measured through a clinically validated questionnaire) changed over time. Then, in the final year of the study they asked participants to download an app on their phone that tracks screen use time.

Researchers compared that screen use time data to participants’ suicide risk scores. Participants were an average age of 13 in the first year of this study, and 23 in the final year.

What did the researchers find?

For teen girls, a higher than average amount of time on social media or television (2-3 hours a day) at the beginning of the study was associated with higher suicide risk scores later on but only if the time on social media or television use increased over the years. Researchers also found that suicide risk increased for girls if their video game use increased over time (regardless of how high or low it was in the first survey).

For boys, the only significant suicide risk was related to video game time if they experienced cyberbullying.

What does this mean for parents and kids?

The researchers could not conclude that different types of media use was causing an increase in suicide risk because this was an observational study and not an experimental study where they could isolate variables to see how they affected people.

So, it’s possible that teenagers with a higher risk of suicide are drawn to particular types and levels of media use.

Either way, high levels of media use for girls and cyberbullying on video games for boys should provide an opportunity for an open dialogue and reflection around the mental, emotional, and social health of your teenager. Getting a professional mental health evaluation early on may prevent serious problems from arising later.

Original article: Coyne, S.M., Hurst, J.L., Dyer, W.J. et al. Suicide Risk in Emerging Adulthood: Associations with Screen Time over 10 years. J Youth Adolescence (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-020-01389-6

New Research: Different Types of Media Use Is Linked to Suicide Risk for Teenage Girls and Boys

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New Research: Different Types of Media Use Is Linked to Suicide Risk for Teenage Girls and Boys

New research suggests that certain online experiences could be signs of an increased risk for suicide in teens. Here are a few signs to look out for.

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Key takeaways

1

Over 2-3 hours of media use a day could be signs of a higher than average risk for suicide for teen girls

2

Experiencing cyberbullying on video games could be signs of a higher than average risk for suicide for teen boys

3

Focusing on mental, emotional, and social health early on could reduce later risks for suicide

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Reading time:

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What kind of study was this?

This was an observational study, which means researchers did not separate participants into groups and intervene with any experimental changes. All the researchers did was give surveys to adolescents over time and observe how different variables changed and whether there were significant connections between variables and changes in variables. This study was part of a much larger study that examines many different variables in family life.

What did researchers want to know?

This particular study was focused on the connection between suicide risk and social media, video game, and television use in adolescents.

What did the researchers actually do?

They did two things: first, they looked at how media use (measured through self-report) and suicide risk (measured through a clinically validated questionnaire) changed over time. Then, in the final year of the study they asked participants to download an app on their phone that tracks screen use time.

Researchers compared that screen use time data to participants’ suicide risk scores. Participants were an average age of 13 in the first year of this study, and 23 in the final year.

What did the researchers find?

For teen girls, a higher than average amount of time on social media or television (2-3 hours a day) at the beginning of the study was associated with higher suicide risk scores later on but only if the time on social media or television use increased over the years. Researchers also found that suicide risk increased for girls if their video game use increased over time (regardless of how high or low it was in the first survey).

For boys, the only significant suicide risk was related to video game time if they experienced cyberbullying.

What does this mean for parents and kids?

The researchers could not conclude that different types of media use was causing an increase in suicide risk because this was an observational study and not an experimental study where they could isolate variables to see how they affected people.

So, it’s possible that teenagers with a higher risk of suicide are drawn to particular types and levels of media use.

Either way, high levels of media use for girls and cyberbullying on video games for boys should provide an opportunity for an open dialogue and reflection around the mental, emotional, and social health of your teenager. Getting a professional mental health evaluation early on may prevent serious problems from arising later.

Original article: Coyne, S.M., Hurst, J.L., Dyer, W.J. et al. Suicide Risk in Emerging Adulthood: Associations with Screen Time over 10 years. J Youth Adolescence (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-020-01389-6

What kind of study was this?

This was an observational study, which means researchers did not separate participants into groups and intervene with any experimental changes. All the researchers did was give surveys to adolescents over time and observe how different variables changed and whether there were significant connections between variables and changes in variables. This study was part of a much larger study that examines many different variables in family life.

What did researchers want to know?

This particular study was focused on the connection between suicide risk and social media, video game, and television use in adolescents.

What did the researchers actually do?

They did two things: first, they looked at how media use (measured through self-report) and suicide risk (measured through a clinically validated questionnaire) changed over time. Then, in the final year of the study they asked participants to download an app on their phone that tracks screen use time.

Researchers compared that screen use time data to participants’ suicide risk scores. Participants were an average age of 13 in the first year of this study, and 23 in the final year.

What did the researchers find?

For teen girls, a higher than average amount of time on social media or television (2-3 hours a day) at the beginning of the study was associated with higher suicide risk scores later on but only if the time on social media or television use increased over the years. Researchers also found that suicide risk increased for girls if their video game use increased over time (regardless of how high or low it was in the first survey).

For boys, the only significant suicide risk was related to video game time if they experienced cyberbullying.

What does this mean for parents and kids?

The researchers could not conclude that different types of media use was causing an increase in suicide risk because this was an observational study and not an experimental study where they could isolate variables to see how they affected people.

So, it’s possible that teenagers with a higher risk of suicide are drawn to particular types and levels of media use.

Either way, high levels of media use for girls and cyberbullying on video games for boys should provide an opportunity for an open dialogue and reflection around the mental, emotional, and social health of your teenager. Getting a professional mental health evaluation early on may prevent serious problems from arising later.

Original article: Coyne, S.M., Hurst, J.L., Dyer, W.J. et al. Suicide Risk in Emerging Adulthood: Associations with Screen Time over 10 years. J Youth Adolescence (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-020-01389-6

What kind of study was this?

This was an observational study, which means researchers did not separate participants into groups and intervene with any experimental changes. All the researchers did was give surveys to adolescents over time and observe how different variables changed and whether there were significant connections between variables and changes in variables. This study was part of a much larger study that examines many different variables in family life.

What did researchers want to know?

This particular study was focused on the connection between suicide risk and social media, video game, and television use in adolescents.

What did the researchers actually do?

They did two things: first, they looked at how media use (measured through self-report) and suicide risk (measured through a clinically validated questionnaire) changed over time. Then, in the final year of the study they asked participants to download an app on their phone that tracks screen use time.

Researchers compared that screen use time data to participants’ suicide risk scores. Participants were an average age of 13 in the first year of this study, and 23 in the final year.

What did the researchers find?

For teen girls, a higher than average amount of time on social media or television (2-3 hours a day) at the beginning of the study was associated with higher suicide risk scores later on but only if the time on social media or television use increased over the years. Researchers also found that suicide risk increased for girls if their video game use increased over time (regardless of how high or low it was in the first survey).

For boys, the only significant suicide risk was related to video game time if they experienced cyberbullying.

What does this mean for parents and kids?

The researchers could not conclude that different types of media use was causing an increase in suicide risk because this was an observational study and not an experimental study where they could isolate variables to see how they affected people.

So, it’s possible that teenagers with a higher risk of suicide are drawn to particular types and levels of media use.

Either way, high levels of media use for girls and cyberbullying on video games for boys should provide an opportunity for an open dialogue and reflection around the mental, emotional, and social health of your teenager. Getting a professional mental health evaluation early on may prevent serious problems from arising later.

Original article: Coyne, S.M., Hurst, J.L., Dyer, W.J. et al. Suicide Risk in Emerging Adulthood: Associations with Screen Time over 10 years. J Youth Adolescence (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-020-01389-6

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