Social Media and Teenage Suicide

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In the modern world, thousands of teenagers own phones along with some social media account. Although it can be used as a positive way to share your life and communicate with people, social media has its downsides. Teens all over the world are cyberbullying or being cyberbullied and in some cases, are killing themselves over it. Articles about teen suicides have been a common theme since the outburst of social media.

Suicide rates have gone up since the rise of social media and smartphones. In Elizabeth Chuck’s article “Is Social Media Contributing to Rising Teen Suicide Rate?”, Chuck talks about a girl named Sadie Riggs who committed suicide because of bullying on social media. “Although she did get bullied in the halls at school, the majority of the taunting was done to her on her various social media accounts. Current studies have proved an increase in teenage suicides and self-harm, especially amongst teenagers around Sadie’s age, 15.” (Elizabeth Chuck) According to the article, social media and smartphones are not always the main cause of suicidal thoughts. Dr. Thomas Simon explains that “‘The increases in suicide rates are unlikely to be due to any single factor,’… adding that substance abuse history, legal problems, or exposure to another person’s suicidal behavior all raise the risk for suicide.” (Elizabeth Chuck 16). It is impossible to pinpoint one single reason why suicide rates have increased; it is a combination of many factors. Teens feel pressured to have a perfect body like the influencers they see on social media and could lead them to develop multiple mental illnesses. Social media and smartphones have allowed for bullying to be done anonymously instead of in person.

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Social media can cause several mental illnesses, commonly depression and anxiety. In the article ‘Social Networking and Depression among University Students.’, author Nasir Ahmad takes information from a survey regarding University students and the effect of social media on their mental health. A prevalent theme among the students was that “people who use social media daily have a higher risk of developing depression”(Ahmad Nasir). Also, many of the surveys showed that because of people spending so many hours on social media, it is much easier for them to develop mental illnesses. On top of that, young adults are losing various hours of sleep because of how much time they spend on their phones. Social media is altering the way teens live, and more importantly, their mental health.

Generation “iGen,” our generation, is more likely to be depressed than people born before 1995. ‘In only a short five years between 2010 and 2015, the number of teens in the US feeling symptoms of depression surged by 33% in large public polls. Smartphone ownership passed the 50% mark near the end of 2012- close to the time young adult suicide and depression started to increase.'(Jean Twenge) Although it is entirely possible that more time spent online can cause unhappiness, teens already diagnosed with depression could spend more time on social media because of that diagnosis.

Social media has many positive factors to it, but the negatives seem to outweigh them. Suicide rates spiked up between 2007 and 2015, around the time several social media sites were released. The way it affects teens’ mental health is drastic, and we need to take action. 

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