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BYU study shows higher suicide risk among teen girls from social media time

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Posted at 11:50 AM, Feb 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-09 16:01:35-05

PROVO, Utah — A new study from Brigham Young University shows a higher suicide rate among teen girls due to an excess of social media usage.

In the study posted to the Journal of Youth and Adolescence, BYU researchers tracked the social media patterns and mental health of 500 teens.

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While social media usage had no effect on boys, the study showed that teen girls who used social media for two to three hours a day, and then increased that time as they got older, "were at a higher clinical risk for suicide as emerging adults."

“Something about that specific social media use pattern is particularly harmful for young girls,” said BYU professor Sarah Coyne.

Coyne says that at 13 years old, girls are almost ready to handle the "darker underbelly of social media." She used terms such as FOMO, which is the fear of missing out, and cyberbulling.

But while young teen girls can start to handle those issues, they are not developmentally ready for up to three hours a day of social media.

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According to the National Institute of Mental Health, suicide is the number two cause of death among those 10 to 34.

Coyne suggests parents limit the social media usage time of young teens to about 20 minutes a day. She also said the best ways to use social media are for a purpose and not just "passively scrolling."