Study: teenage girls who spend hours on social media more likely to have depression symptoms

Suzanne Monaghan
January 14, 2019 - 4:00 am
There's more evidence of a correlation between depression and social media use among teenagers. A recent study in the UK finds girls spend more time on social media than boys, and they are more likely to display signs of depression linked to their time on

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — There's more evidence of a correlation between depression and social media use among teenagers. A recent study in the UK finds girls spend more time on social media than boys, and they are more likely to display signs of depression linked to their time online. 

The study didn't explore the reason for the gender gap, but other studies show girls spend more time on photo-based apps that focus on appearance.

"I think that girls are getting very, very focused on what they look like because daily, they're on their phones putting pictures on there," said Sheryl Gould,  a parenting specialist and founder of Moms of Tweens and Teens.

Gould says they're looking for validation, but often end up comparing their likes and comments to others.

"So they're measuring themselves not only based on what their picture looks like, but they're also measuring themselves against other girls," she added. 

Teens are inundated with edited selfies that can also include filters to improve appearance but are unattainable in real life.

"Every day they're looking at these pictures, and so it's reinforcing this belief that 'I'm not good enough, I'm not pretty enough, I'm not thin enough. And in order to get the attention and self-worth and value, I have to put these filters on there. I have to try and look a certain way,'" Gould said. 

Social media is here to stay, so Gould says parents should talk to their daughters about how to navigate it and how it's making them feel.