Do smartphones lead to depression in kids?

Is the so-called "I" Generation headed toward depression due to their constant use of phones and other devices?

A new study takes a look at the impact of the hyper-connected world so many kids live in.

How much time does a typical 13-year-old spend on their smartphone?

"Probably about four to five hours," said La Canada 8th grader Christian Castro.

Castro just got his phone 8 months ago and he's fascinated with all the things it can do.

His younger siblings find it hard to get his attention.

Castro said, "I just don't hear them and they get mad at me."

But when kids get so submerged in their smartphones, experts say it can interrupt their development.

Child psychologist Dr. Stephanie Marcy said, "We know that people are doing a lot more time doing solitary activities and not out in the world being active.?

The group that experts are most concerned about are those born between 1995 and 2012. Because of their increased overuse of smartphones and other devices, some researchers have dubbed them the I-Gen.

"If your face is in a phone, watching a video of somebody else being social, you are by definition then losing that opportunity to do that with other people," Marcy said.

New research from San Diego State University reveals that this overdosing on devices can lead to mental health issues, like depression and anxiety.

Marcy agrees.

"They have this constant sense of anxiety," she said. "If they're on a social media app or if they are using a phone to engage with people socially through text they are constantly worried about how well it was accepted," she added.

Marcy encourages parents to monitor everything their kids do on their phone and on social media, and set some hard and fast rules when it comes to usage.

Experts also warn of a new high-tech form of isolation. Seeing Christian Castro, for example, sit with his younger siblings, without anyone talking to each other, is sadly something happening in more and more families.

Child development specialists say parents should interact more with their kids. Ask for their phones during mealtime or during other family activities.

And replace phone time with some good, old fashioned play time!
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