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Social Media Can Lead to Depression in Students, Professor Says

April 23, 2018 - 7:40 am
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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - It may be hard to believe, but a media literacy expert says studies are pointing to a link between depression and heavy use of Instagram.

Webster University professor Julie Smith has written the book Master the Media: How Teaching Media Literacy can Save our Plugged in World.  

She says young people are suffering from emotional exhaustion and may even feel isolated because of all the time they spend in the digital world.

“What we discovered is this great term called ‘compare and despair.’ The idea is the more time we spend on social media, and Instagram in particular because it’s such a visual media, it’s nothing but photos, we’re more likely to compare ourselves to these perfect images that people present online,” she says.

Smith says it's easy for parents to not understand the impact.

“If you and I had a bad day at school, we could go home, and now if the kids are having a bad day on Instagram or someone’s sending them nasty snaps, they can’t escape from that,” she says.

She says parents should talk to their kids about their social media experiences and acknowledge that it can have an effect on mental health. She also reminds parents that they are in charge.