Posted in: Tattle, Technology

‘Phones are like a scab we know we shouldn’t pick’: the truth about social media and anxiety

Although connecting with friends online has positive benefits for mental health, overdoing screen time can lead to a catastrophic emotional crash

Most people think that phones are a bad thing for anxiety. Parents, in particular, believe phones are terrible for the mental health of children, teenagers and young adults. So, what is the truth? While I was writing my book You Don’t Understand Me, which addresses the mental health of teenage girls and young women, I felt I had to get to the bottom of the relationship between phones and anxiety. And to be honest, it doesn’t look great. Since smartphones came out in around 2000, there has been a steady decline in the mental health of young people. But as we know, correlation does not necessarily equal causation.

What I have observed clinically is that rather than being the cause of the problem per se, phones seem to act as a catalyst to our emotions. This can be a positive thing, when it allows us to connect with friends and family; share happy news; photos or jokes. It also allows marginalised communities to find each other.

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