By: Sam Davel

According to a new report published by the University of Utah, suicide rates in young adults aged 15-24 have dramatically climbed over the past 20 years. In females, suicide rates have climbed 80% in 20 years and 30% for males the same age over the same period of time.

While it is assumed that social media and other online apps have contributed to an increase in depression and anxiety, this is one of the first studies confirming that information at alarming rates. According to the study, if a young adult aged 15-24 has a single social media app, they are” up to three times as likely to be depressed than a young adult who doesn’t participate in social media.

The idea is pretty simple, younger generations have grown up with an inability to wait. If they need an answer they can google it, if they need a friend they can call them or text them immediately and if they dont answer they can message them on multiple platforms. In a sense this has made younger generations impulsive and many behavioral scientists believe that the younger generations are more likely to act impulsive.

In the report, Jessica Holzbauer is quoted as saying “social media has removed the barriers between the user and the audience—with far-reaching implications. “We can act on impulse and post something to social media that may reflect a feeling or thought in the moment but may not be true to us a day later,” Holzbauer says. “When our more level-headed self is back in charge, we can feel embarrassment, shame, or regret for posting something impulsively.”

Not only are young adults more likely to be impulsive but many are suffering from addiction. Cell phones and social media apps are designed to be addictive. The more time a user stays on the social media app the more money that company can make. This causes young adults to feel as though they need social media to survive and function in the day-to-today world.

While the long-term results of social media apps are only beginning to be understood, it is worrisome that suicide and depression rates amound young adults is climbing so high. Social media and its impact on society will continue to be studied, and if more reports conclude the same information as this University of Utah report, we have to start asking the question “Do the negative effects of social media outway the positive effects?”



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