Increased Social Media Use Could Be Fueling Suicide among Teens in the US, Study Shows

In Education

A recent study shows that teen suicide is becoming a significant problem in the United States, with suicide being the second leading cause of premature death among 10 to 24-year-olds. New research has found an increasing trend that could explain why suicide has become the leading cause of death for young teenagers.

Increase in suicide rates among teens coincides with the social media boom

The study focused on suicide rates among 13 to 14-year-olds in the U.S. between 1999 and 2018, looking at factors such as race and area of residence that may have influenced suicidal behaviour. Suicide incidence among 13 to 14-year-olds doubled between 2008 and 2018, which coincided with a surge in social media use. Prior to this, suicide rates decreased in this age group from 1999 to 2007. Rates were similar in urban and rural areas but higher in boys in rural areas who had access to guns.

According to a study, firearms were involved in 46.7% of suicides among boys and 34.7% of incidents in urban areas. Suicides were more common between September and May, particularly on Mondays, which suggests that school may play a role. The study’s senior author, Sarah K. Wood, called for further research into the connection between social media, school stress, firearms, and suicide. She also recommended clinical and public health initiatives for those at the highest risk.

Guns have been a prevalent cause of death among teens over the past decade

Guns are a common cause of teen deaths, but from 2007 to 2018, over half of the suicides involved hanging, suffocation, or strangulation. These methods were more common in small and medium metro areas, while firearms (38.9%) were more common in rural areas.

The increase in suicide rates among 13 and 14-year-olds occurred during the same time period as the launch of several popular social media platforms, including Reddit, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, and Tumblr. By 2018, Instagram and Snapchat had surpassed these platforms in popularity among teens. The increase in suicide rates was consistent across the United States, with higher rates in non-metropolitan and rural areas due to firearms.

Mobile Sliding Menu