Teen depression rates jumped thirty three percent between 2010 and 2015. One researcher says smart phones are to blame.

Teen depression rates jumped between 2010 and 2015. One researcher says smart phones are to blame.

Credit: Wikimedia Public Domain

Living Lab Radio: Smartphones Are Hurting Teens' Mental Health — Here's What We Can Do

December 4, 2017

The digital revolution is a double-edged sword. Researchers are developing computer-controlled brain implants to help treat mental health disorders. Meanwhile, smartphones and social media have been linked to a dramatic rise in teen depression and suicide.

  • Science headlines with Nature News: From the international search for a missing Argentinian submarine, to smart brain implants to treat mental health disorders, and efforts to expand the genetic code.
  • Conflicting winter weather outlooks: The National Weather Service is calling for warmer than average winter temperatures in the northeast. But Judah Cohen, Director of Seasonal Forecasting at Lexington-based Atmospheric and Environmental Research, is calling for colder than average temperatures along much of the east coast and into New England. He says there's also the possibility that Boston will see a snowy winter. The difference is whether forecasters look to the tropics or the Arctic for clues.
  • Smartphones are taking a toll on teens’ mental health: Teen depression rates jumped 33 percent between 2010 and 2015, while suicide attempts rose by almost a quarter. Psychologist Jean Twenge of San Diego State University has sifted through the various possible explanations and says only one factor explains the abrupt shift in American teens’ mental health — smartphones. But the happiest teens are not the ones without a smartphone. Twenge says it's better to limit smartphone use — not just for teens, but for parents, too.
  • Do we really need natural gas? protest this weekend at the site of a proposed natural gas power generator on the Cape Cod Canal highlights the controversy surrounding the rise of natural gas. Some say it’s an improvement over other fossil fuels, and a necessary bridge to a more renewable energy system. Others say it’s still a fossil fuel, and we should be investing in solar instead. The director of research at MIT’s Energy Initiative, Francis O’Sullivan, says neither side is completely right — or wrong.

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