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Music & media factors of teenage depression, research says

By Colin M. Prenger ’11

In today’s technological age, media envelops us each and every day – but at what cost?

Texting, web surfing and listening to music are activities that are likely to cause depression in teens who do too much of it on a daily basis, experts say.

Previous research shows that teens spend around 7.5 hours per day engrossed in media.

Brian Primack, a pediatrician at the University of Pittsburgh, does not directly attribute the depression to media outlets, but does say that it perpetuates the emotions and behaviors of depression.

“They don’t have a lot of energy, and this is a place where they can go and they don’t have to perform,” Primack said in an article written by NPR News.

Primack figures that an activity such as reading a book uses much more energy from the brain rather than sitting on the couch watching TV.

Keeping the brain active, even when you are in the dumps, is a key element in staying out of a state of depression. Sitting with your brain on idle for long periods of time is nothing but bad for mental health.

The dichotomy is that those teens who listen to music in ample amounts are eight times more likely to be depressed than the students who don’t listen to music as much.

Statistics for the teens that read and do not read are small but still solidify that a lack of reading can lead to depression.

Researchers surveyed teens and 0.2 percent said they were reading a book or magazine. That 0.2 percent of the population of teens they asked, who read a lot, are one-tenth as likely to be depressed than those who read less.