Internet Addiction Linked to Childhood Depression

by on January 26th, 2012 at 7:00 am

According to research printed in the Journal Pediatrics, children who have an unhealthy addiction to the internet are almost twice as likely to suffer from depression. That is an alarming number, and parents should be concerned. The study tracked 1,041 teens in China, where internet addiction is a serious problem. The teens were asked a series of questions in order to assess their risk of depression. Out of the teens studied, 94% were considered unhealthy internet users, and the other 6% were found to be moderately unhealthy internet users.

The researchers evaluated the teens’ risk of depression again  9 months later, and found that the teens with unhealthy internet addiction were one and a half times more likely to show symptoms of depression. While this may seem alarming, teen depression is not new. It’s estimated that over 2 million teens and pre-teens develop depression every year. However, the problem has become so prevalent that a government panel has advised doctors to screen children aged from 12-18 for depression routinely.

Parents should take note and watch for signs of depression, which can include:

  • Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
  • Loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable
  • Loss of energy
  • Feelings of hopelessness or lack of self-worth
  • Insomnia or excessive sleeping
  • Overeating or loss of appetite
  • Thoughts or attempts of suicide

If you or someone you know is suffering from these symptoms, seek professional help immediately.

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