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Screen Time Is Killing Teens. Could Entrepreneurs Use Screens To Also Help Save Them?

hand258Growing up has never been easy. No past generation of adolescents, however, has struggled with mental health quite like today’s teens, and this is something I see on a daily basis. Building a world for the next generation is difficult when you wonder whether the next generation will be able to enjoy it, and it’s something I think about regularly as an entrepreneur.

The statistics are stark. Depression diagnoses among adolescents, defined as individuals ages 12 through 17, grew 63 percent between 2013 and 2016, according to a Blue Cross Blue Shield Association study. Even more alarmingly, teen suicide rates are soaring. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that suicides among black 10- to 17 year-olds increased by 77 percent between 2006 and 2016, with white suicides among that age group growing by a similar 70 percent.

When health researchers first noticed the trend, they turned to the usual culprits. Economic inequality proved a popular explanation, but America’s wealth gap has been growing for decades, while teen mental health issues were on the downslide until recently. Other reports hinted at political rancor as a potential cause. International medical journals, however, show increases in teen suicides not just in the U.S., but also in other countries like the U.K. and Russia.

Then, in November 2017, Clinical Psychological Science published a groundbreaking study that pointed to excessive screen time.

The study of 5,000 North American teens found a strong correlation between the proliferation of smartphones and teenage mental illness. Suicide rates among teen girls, for example, grew 65 percent between 2009 and 2015 — the same period during which smartphones hit market saturation.

When the smartphone-suicide link surfaced, researchers reacted with a mix of shock and resignation that the problem couldn’t be easily solved. At least two entrepreneurs, Jared Allgood and Jayson Ahlstrom, both dads of teenagers themselves, saw in the data what they had long suspected and were already working on a solution for.

Read the full article in Forbes online.

Source: Forbes | Screen Time Is Killing Teens. Could Entrepreneurs Use Screens To Also Help Save Them?, https://www.forbes.com/sites/serenitygibbons/2018/10/02/screen-time-is-killing-teens-could-entrepreneurs-use-screens-to-also-help-save-them/#7ba35e4e1ba7 | ©2018 Forbes Media LLC

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