Imagine Telly from Kids with a fucking iPhone, posting gloriously fucked up selfies and repeatedly giving adventureless puritans over the age of 40 an endless series of TL-induced heart attacks. If Telly did that shit for more than two hours a day, his propensity for eventual mental health issues would increase significantly.
At least, that's what many are taking from a new study from Ottawa Public Health, which concludes that teens who regularly "use social media sites for two hours or more per day are significantly more likely to suffer from poor mental health, psychological distress and suicidal thoughts." The study was conducted using data from 750 students in grades seven through twelve, culled from the 2013 Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey.
Thankfully, no one is taking the Get Off My Lawn approach and recommending that anyone — teenagers or otherwise — abstain from social media. Instead, Brenda K. Wiederhold of the Interactive Media Institute in San Diego suggests that social media titans like Facebook and Twitter simply make mental health awareness a natural part of their respective platforms. "Since teens are on the sites," proposes Wiederhold, "it is the perfect place for public health and service providers to reach out and connect with this vulnerable population and provide health promotion systems and supports."