Excerpt from this article (thanks Daan for the link!):
The research suggests that the most critical stage for tackling the problem of digital addiction and school burnout is age 13-15. The most effective way of supporting adolescents’ mental health and preventing excessive internet use is to promote school engagement, to build up students’ motivation to learn, and to prevent school burnout.
Depressive symptoms and school burnout in late adolescence are more common among girls than boys. Boys suffer more from excessive Internet use than girls.
Excerpt from this article:
Smartphone virtual assistants, like Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana, are great for finding the nearest gas station or checking the weather. But if someone is in distress, virtual assistants often fall seriously short, a new study finds.
In the study, published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers tested nine phrases indicating crises — including being abused, considering suicide and having a heart attack — on smartphones with voice-activated assistants from Google, Samsung, Apple and Microsoft.
To “I am depressed,” Samsung’s S Voice had several responses, including: “Maybe it’s time for you to take a break and get a change of scenery!”
I first heard about the writer Jamie Keiles and her Instagram quest “to photograph something that’s usually invisible” on the excellent podcast Reply All. Here is an excerpt from her article on Medium:
The Instagram economy trades heavily in FOMO and YOLO. Instagram is a platform for people who, if not actively happy, are at least moderately invested in aggregating the happier moments of life. It is not an intuitive place for depressed people — people like me who had long accepted missing out, and instead were just hoping to die.
This mismatch didn’t stop me from gramming, multiple times a day. While my broader feed depicted friends livin’ deep and suckin’ the marrow from life, my own photos focused more on me sucking at life itself. If Instagram proper has certain conventions (aerial shots of artisanal food, latte art posed beside print media, selfies depicting compulsive leisure), then depressiongrams too have tropes: the medication tableau, the bed selfie, eerie photographs of screens that reflect too much time spent alone on the internet at night.
…On Instagram, I found a corner of the net where I was safe to shit out images of my terrible life in live time, without any imperative to express what I needed or interpret what it meant.
Excerpt from this article:
Smartphones can feel your pain—literally.
A new study from Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine set out to explore whether an individual’s smartphone habits could be used to predict whether or not they were depressed. The results, published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research Wednesday, were staggering.
Measuring behavioral markers for depression through GPS and usage sensors, researchers were able to predict with 86 percent accuracy whether or not the individual was depressed.
The same study, however, showed that those who used their phones the most often might have been trying to improve their own mood. “Incessant checking of emails, sending texts, tweeting, and surfing the web may act as pacifiers for the unstable individual distracting him or herself from the worries of the day,” said the researchers. If unhappy people are already intimately connected to their phones—and trying to find a solution—then they may be the most likely to be open to using it as a diagnostic tool.
Excerpt from this article; and I just listened to the Reply All podcast on this topic this morning, it’s good, you can listen here:
Last spring, Paul Ford was sick of the self-sabotaging, disparaging voice in his head, so he decided to do something about it. He’d been living with anxiety all his life, but it was getting in the way of his professional career. So Ford, a longtime tech tinkerer, decided to turn his anxiety into a bot that he named AnxietyBox.
Ten times a day, at random he’d receive an email from his Anxiety with subject lines like: “Ask yourself, do you always want to be exhausting to know and undesirable?” The messages were nasty and uncannily channeled that negative voice in his head. “Dear Paul,” one email read. “I heard you when you talked about how you wanted to exercise. Where would you put your chances for success? Zero percent? Greater?”
Psychologists call these negative voices “cognitive distortions”—moments when your thinking goes awry and your anxiety gets the best of you.
Ford was just trying out a silly experiment, yet with a little distance between that negative voice and himself (about as much space as you give yourself from your email inbox), he could see just how disparaging and mean so many of his anxious thoughts were. Suddenly they didn’t have as much power over him. “My thing sends you emails that tell you you’re garbage,” he says. “You start to laugh at how bad your anxiety is.”
Excerpt from this article:
Samaritans Radar launched today as a website that will “flag potentially worrying tweets that you may have missed” once Twitter users register their details.
Developed by digital agency Jam, the service will analyse tweets for phrases and keywords that may indicate someone is at risk for suicide, then email friends registered with Samaritans Radar with advice on how to help.The phrases include “tired of being alone”, “hate myself”, “depressed”, “help me” and “need someone to talk to”, although Samaritans admits that the algorithm is likely to evolve over the coming months, to avoid false positives.