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'I think it has consequences that we're not even fully aware of yet' | Social media and screen time contribute to depression, anxiety in children

Excessive screen time impacts a child's mental well-being, self-image and causes feelings of loneliness, according to countless studies.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Social media has become a part of our everyday lives. However, social media usage can create negative mental problems—especially in children. 

Countless studies show the negative effects of social media on children. It impacts their mental well-being, self-image and causes feelings of loneliness.

"When you introduce technology to a developing brain. I think it has consequences that we're not even fully aware of yet, but it doesn't look helpful," Director of Psychology Services at East Tennessee Children's Hospital Dr. Janis Neece said. 

Twelve different studies found depression correlated with time spent on social media. But it goes beyond social media—excessive screen time also contributes to poor mental health. 

A study out of Australia conducted a global analysis of over half a million children from ages 13 to 15.

The study found more than an hour of screen time a day is detrimental contributing to depression, obesity, an unhealthy diet and decreased physical abilities. 

This is why experts created the 'Wait Until 8th' campaign encouraging parents to wait until 8th grade to give their kids a smartphone. 

"If parents will bond together early on, to talk with each other about, 'Let's all hold out,' and do that as a group so that kids, they don't have that sense of isolation," Neece said. 

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