Cell phones, Internet use factors into suicide study

Chris Miller
December 06, 2017 - 8:56 am

A study of teenage suicide in Utah finds a link  net usage between sudden social media deprivation and suicide. In the study of 150 suicide cases, 18 involved kids who had recently been cut off from going online -- either as punishment, or because their phone, tablet, or computer was lost or broken. 

Dr. Richard Costa, psychologist with LSU Health New Orleans, says social media can act as a support system for depressed kids.

"Kids that are depressed tend to want to find connections somewhere. Social media tends to be a nice outlet or escape for kids," explained Dr. Costa "Often, the kids that are depressed or suicidal might be more isolated, they may not have the folks that are checking in on them, which further increases the chance of them feeling isolated."

The report doesn't blame electronics and social media for suicides, but Costa says the information can help people keep an eye out for warning signs.

As always, limits are important, Dr. Costa said.

"Part of being adults and part of being kids is knowing we have to set limits with them, even if they get upset about it."

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