Research: teen suicide linked to increasing social media usage

Research: teen suicide linked to increasing social media usage

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

According to the PEW Research Center, three in five teenagers have been bullied or harassed on social media.

Yet, only one in 10 will tell a parent about it.

This disconnect is one of the reasons why Sarah Dingus is teaching The Youth Mental Health First Aid Program.

She said it is a message to adults that their eyes and ears need to be open. 

"With social media being such a big outlet, and students, youth living their life through social media, my big thing is awareness," Dingus said.

She is coordinating this workshop with parents, counselors, and teachers in the West Texas area, saying kids live in a different world now. 

"I think adults need to be aware of the apps. I think adults need to be aware of the different social media outlets. They need to be aware of how teens, youth, young adults are living day to day lives under this social pressure," Dingus said.

According to the CDC, the suicide rate for 15 to 19 year olds has increased 33% since 2009. 

In that same time frame, teen social media use has nearly doubled. 

With teen suicide rates growing proportionally with social media usage, Dingus said it is time for adults to be more proactive.

"What are things we're not seeing? What are the things going on behind closed doors? Is this the 'I want privacy,' or is it the 'I'm hiding something'," Dingus said.

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