Social Media (Again) Shown To Be Worse For Girls’ Mental Health Than Boys’ 0

We’ve heard it before: As much as it may be handy for keeping in touch with old classmates or family members, social media seems to do more harm than good, psychologically, especially for young people. And the refrain is increasingly common, not just from the friend everyone has who’s quit Facebook and never been happier, but from multiple research studies over several years (and, if you count it, from some of the developers of social media themselves who have sounded loud warnings about its risks).

Now, a new study from the University of Essex and University College London finds that teenagers who spend more hours a day on social media have a greater risk for depression, and the connection appears to be particularly pronounced for girls.

The team looked at data from over 10,000 14-year-olds taking part in the UK Millennial Cohort Study. Participants filled out questionnaires about their social media use, and about their mental health—for instance, depression symptoms were assessed by the Moods and Feelings Questionnaire (the teens rated how much they agreed or disagreed with statements like, “I felt miserable or unhappy,” “I didn’t enjoy anything at all,” “I felt so tired I just sat around and did nothing” over the past two weeks).

In general, girls used social media more than boys, with 40% of girls, and 20% of boys, using it for more than three hours per day. Only 4% of girls reported abstaining completely, compared to 10% of boys.

And the more a person used social media, the greater their likelihood for experiencing depression symptoms: 12% of light social media users and 38% of heavy social media users had depression symptoms. The team found that three to five hours of social media per day was linked to a 26% increase in depression scores in girls, vs. 21% in boys, compared to kids who just used it from one to three hours/day. For more than five hours/day of social media, the increase in depression score rose to 50% for girls and 35% for boys.

Again, this is not surprising. Over five hours per day of social media use is a huge amount by any standard and would make up a large percentage of a person’s total awake time. It doesn’t seem odd that this level of social media would be linked to mental health issues.

The team also tried to find underlying explanations for the connection: cyberbullying and sleep deprivation both had an effect. “The most important pathways were via poor sleep and online harassment,” the authors write. “For example more social media use linked to poor sleep which in turn was related to depressive symptoms; experiencing online harassment was linked to poor sleep, poor body image and low self-esteem; and that girls and boys with poor body image were more likely to have low self-esteem.”

The connection between social media use and depression was reduced when these other variables were taken into account, which may suggest that they—harassment, lack of sleep, and self-esteem issues—could be significant moderators. The researchers weren’t able to look at other factors that have been shown to play a role in the social media-mental health connection, including whether an individual is an active or passive user. They did look back at data from when the participants were 11 and found some complex relationships between mental health at age 11 and social media use at age 14, which suggests the connection may be nuanced and far from one-size-fits-all. The group reported earlier this year that social media use was linked to depression more strongly in girls than boys, and this disparity grew between ages 10 and 15.

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Interestingly, other research out this week, a review of earlier studies by a different team at University College London, found mixed evidence for a link between screen time in general and depression. “There is moderately strong evidence for an association between screen time and depressive symptoms,” the authors conclude. “This association is for overall screentime but there is very limited evidence from only one review for an association with social media screen time. There is moderate evidence for a dose-response effect, with weak evidence for a threshold of ≥2 hours daily screen time for the association with depressive symptoms.”

But there have certainly been other research findings links, including a number of studies by Jean Twenge, a researcher who has studying screens’ effects on young people. She’s found social media strongly linked to depression and even suicidality in young people. And it may not be surprising that social media would affect the genders in different ways, since they may use social media in fundamentally different ways, at least on average—some experts have suggested that girls make more comparisons between themselves and others, which is notoriously bad for mental health.

While more research is being done, the advice might already be clear enough: if not cut social media out, then at least cut-down, and definitely, encourage our kids to do so.

Source: Forbes

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Girls Iron Folic Acid Tablets Supplementation (GIFT) programme kick starts Eastern Region 0

The Girls Iron Folic Acid Tablets Supplementation (GIFT) targeted at reducing high anaemia prevalence in the young has been launched in Koforidua.

Under the implementation about 54,000 girls between the ages of 10-19 in schools and out of school in the Eastern Region, would receive a folic acid tablet supplementation routinely to be administered under supervision to reduce anaemia.

At an orientation meeting with stakeholders prior to the launching, Dr Mrs Alberta Britwum-Nyarko, the Eastern Regional Director of Health Services, said statistics show that two out of every five women in the country have anaemia or low blood levels resulting in fatigues, headaches and even death in pregnant women.

She said in young adolescents the immediate effect of “this anaemia or low blood level condition results in poor memory and not doing well in school, whiles the long-term effect results in complications in pregnancies such as premature or stillbirths and even death during delivery”.

Dr Britwum-Nyarko said in order to reduce the high prevalence of anaemia among women and girls, the Ghana Health Service in collaboration with the Ghana Education Service (GES) has initiated the GIFT programme to help prevent the dire consequences of anaemia in the society.

Mr Bismarck Sarkodie, the regional Nutrition Officer of the GHS, said research shows that it is important for every woman to prepare her nutritious status very well before pregnancy and this can be done by eating food that contains all the minerals, especially iron.

He said the GIFT programme is, therefore, an intervention to prepare adolescent girls adequately as far as their nutritional status was concerned.

Again, he said some girls lose a lot of blood during menstruation and this also means the loss of a lot of iron which needs to be replaced and appealed to all stakeholders to use every opportunity to educate the public especially mothers to embrace the programme.

Later, Ms Golda Asante, Director of the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) on behalf of the Eastern Regional Minister, launched the programme at the Presbyterian Cluster of Schools where folic acid tablets were administered to the school children.

 

 

Source: GNA

Special Education Is What Children with Congenital Heart Defects Needs- NGO 0

A project meant to provide exceptional services for kids with inborn Heart Defects (CHDs) before and after surgery has been launched with an appeal on educational establishments to pay special attention to the wants of such children.

Dubbed “Restore a Child’s Heart Project”, the project additionally seeks to advocate for quality and affordable health care for school going kids with such disabilities.
It is being funded by the Centre of Hope global Missions, United Kingdom in collaboration with Dominion Leaders Foundation (DLF), Ghana as the implementers.
The aim is to forestall CHDs, manage its effects and save the lives of Ghanaian and Jamaican kids with such disabilities globally.
Dr Martha Anang, Chief executive officer (CEO) of DLF and executive director of the project, said it’s incumbent on the education sector to plot ideas to make the classroom lively for such kids because research has proven that children with all types of CHD have poorer academic outcomes compared to their peers.

Even those who have early surgery for CHD are known to have impaired development which eventually turns out to have negative effects on their performances and achievements, Dr Anang said.

She said every child has a unique potential but this could not be fully developed if the child did not have good health.

Dr Anan said it was for this reason that the project is being introduced to help eliminate all forms of illnesses that affect school children and hinder their academic performances.

Reverend Dr Nordine Campbell, Chief executive officer (CEO) and founder of the Centre of Hope for global Missions, said that research conducted in 2016, reported that CHDs represent the second major reason behind cardiovascular disease morbidity and mortality among young Africans.
However, she said its management was limited in Africa because of the inadequate socio-economic environments coupled with insufficient technical platforms and human resource to handle the incapacity.

Dr Campbell said the project would specifically identify school children with all types of CHDs and provide them with exceptional services needed to help improve their health conditions for better academic performance.

She said a Heart Restore Centre will eventually be built in the Central Region of Ghana to rehabilitate children with CHDs.

Dr Campbell expressed worry about the absence of reliable data on CHDs which made it difficult to estimate the global burden of these conditions on the African continent.

An estimated one million children and about 1.4 million adults are living with CHDs in the United States (US) alone while the British Heart Foundation, Health Promotion Research Group in 2013, reported that one in every 180 babies in the UK are born with a CHD.

“If developed countries like the US and UK have such high prevalence levels of CHDs then one can imagine the situation in Africa”, she lamented and called on other philanthropic   organisations and individuals to help save humanity, particularly, the poor little children in Africa where access to medical assistance in this direction might be non-existent.

Dr Ernest Asiedu, Head of Quality Management Unit at the Ministry of Health, who chaired the program, pledged the Ministry’s support for the project.

An Electrocardiogram (ECG) was done for about 140 children by doctors from the Doctors In Service (DIS) Clinic in Cape Coast to check their heart condition.

Dr Anang was inducted as a Health and Education Ambassador for the project worldwide by the Centre of Hope for Global missions while Dr Campbell was also made an ambassador by International Independence Interdenominational Christian Churches and Ministries (IFIICCM), a US-based organisation.

 

Source: GNA

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