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Social media ‘doesn’t increase mental health problems in teens’

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social media doesnt increase mental health problems in teens

Spending time on social media platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok does not increase the risk of mental health issues among teenagers, a study claims.

Isolation, cyberbullying and a supposed obsession with how we’re portrayed online has led to claims that social media is fuelling a rise in depression and other psychological disorders among adolescents.

But in a study of 74,000 teens aged between 13 and 16, US researchers found no association between depression symptoms and social media use.

In some teenage boys, social media use was even shown to protect against symptoms of depression, likely by keeping them in contact with friends or by supplying them with amusing content. 

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Contrary to popular wisdom, the use of social media platforms including Instagram (pictured) is 'not a strong or consistent risk factor for depressive symptoms' among adolescents, researchers say

Contrary to popular wisdom, the use of social media platforms including Instagram (pictured) is ‘not a strong or consistent risk factor for depressive symptoms’ among adolescents, researchers say

‘Increasingly, teenagers are active on social media, particularly during the pandemic, as they have to rely on Instagram, TikTok, and other platforms to stay in touch with friends,’ said study author Noah Kreski at the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York. 

‘While some adults have voiced concerns over the potential mental health risks of this behaviour, our research finds no compelling evidence to suggest that social media use meaningfully increases adolescents’ risk of depressive symptoms.’  

The researchers analysed survey data collected by Monitoring the Future, an ongoing study of the behaviours, attitudes, and values of Americans from adolescence through adulthood.

They sampled 74,472 8th and 10th grade students – 13 to 14 year olds and 15 to 16 year olds – between 2009 to 2017, who submitted symptoms of depression and their daily social media use.  

Social media use was assessed with the following question: ‘How often you you do each of the following? Visit sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.’

Response options ranged from ‘almost every day’ to ‘never’, with intermediate options of ‘at least once a week’, ‘once or twice a month’ and ‘a few times a year’. 

Recent evidence has indicated unprecedented increases in adolescent depression, depressive symptoms, and suicidal behaviour, particularly among girls

Recent evidence has indicated unprecedented increases in adolescent depression, depressive symptoms, and suicidal behaviour, particularly among girls 

Teens were also asked to rate four statements on a scale of one to five reflecting how much they agreed with them – ‘life often seems meaningless’, ‘the future often seems hopeless’, ‘it feels good to be alive’ and ‘I enjoy life as much as anyone’. 

Between 2009 and 2017, daily social media use among 8th and 10th grade students increased from 61 per cent to 89 per cent among girls, respectively, the data showed. 

Among boys, social media use also increased from 46 per cent to 75 per cent in the same timeframe. 

However, daily social media use did not show a significant association with depressive symptoms for girls.  

For boys, results were inconsistent, although some evidence suggested that daily social media use may actually be protective against depression. 

Among boys, daily social media use was not linked to increased depressive symptoms, and some evidence suggested that daily social media use may actually be protective against depression

Among boys, daily social media use was not linked to increased depressive symptoms, and some evidence suggested that daily social media use may actually be protective against depression

Interestingly, any potential harmful effects of social media appeared to be limited to between the years 2009 and 2010, as ‘the role and nature of social media varies over time’, the team report. 

It may be because social media was adopted earlier by individuals with a higher pre-existing depression risk. 

The study challenges the suggestion that social media is a current risk factor for depressive symptoms, instead suggesting social media sites have actually got better at helping improve adolescent mental health.    

The researchers conclude that daily social media use is not a strong or consistent risk factor for depressive symptoms for either sexes or age groups. 

‘Daily social media use does not capture the diverse ways in which adolescents use social media, which may be both positive and negative depending on the social context,’ said senior author Professor Katherine Keyes, also at Columbia Mailman School. 

‘Future research could explore the specific behaviours and experiences of young people using social media, as well as more frequent engagement with the various platforms.’

Although the youth of the US are widely exposed to social media and therefore provide a reliable study sample, the study only used American teens, which could affect the applicability of the findings to teens of other nations. 

Recent evidence has indicated unprecedented increases in adolescent depression, depressive symptoms and suicidal behaviour, particularly among girls. 

There has been much speculation that increasing use of smartphones and social media platforms have contributed to these trends. 

The theory goes that adolescents who use their phones a lot are increasingly isolated from face-to-face interaction, experience cyber-bullying and face challenges to self-esteem and self-worth. 

Apps that keep teens in constant contact with their loved ones may actually help hold off feelings of depression

Apps that keep teens in constant contact with their loved ones may actually help hold off feelings of depression 

For example, teens may see a glamorous photo posted by one of their friends at a luxury location on Instagram, which may trigger feelings of jealousy and inadequacy. 

On the other hand, social media use may have positive effects on adolescent self-esteem, the Columbia University researchers claim. 

Social networking sites provide a space for content that is positive or humorous, and is particularly valuable to adolescents who are depressed.  

The wide array of accessible options to keep in touch with friends and family, such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, is also having a positive effect on teens. 

Many young people also seek out support and advice on social media, particularly those with moderate to severe depressive symptoms. 

Social media is NOT causing teen depression, another study claims

 A 2019 study also found no evidence to back up claims that social media is causing teen depression.

The study was carried out by researchers in Canada who gathered data from teens and young children in Ontario.

597 students aged 11-14 were surveyed once a year for two years starting from 2017. 1,132 graduates were surveyed annually for six years starting from 2010.

Researchers compared the data, factoring in demographics, in-person contact, depressive symptoms and social media use.

Factoring in all these pieces of information allowed the researchers to conclude that there is no link between depression and social media.

The study did find that teen girls who experience depressive symptoms tend to use more social media across time.

The results showed that using social media did not directly lead to depression-like symptoms for either age group.

‘This finding contrasts with the idea that people who use a lot of social media become more depressed over time.

‘Instead, adolescent girls who are feeling down may turn to social media to try and make themselves feel better,’ said lead author Taylor Heffer of Brock University in Ontario, Canada.  

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Collapse in air travel between US and UK will cost economy £11bn this year

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collapse in air travel between us and uk will cost economy 11bn this year

Restrictions on travel between the UK and US will cost the British economy £11billion this year, an alarming report by the aviation sector has warned.

Its bleak forecast reckons £32million will be wiped off UK GDP each day from next month if constraints to wrestle down the pandemic are not eased.  

Ministers are facing growing calls to thrash out an airport testing regime with their counterparts in Washington so the curbs can be eased – with the prospect of an air bridge with New York also being proposed.

People arriving in the UK from the US are required to self-isolate for 14 days, while the US will not allow foreigners to enter if they have been in the UK during the previous fortnight. 

As a result, total capacity of trans-Atlantic flights this month is down 85 per cent from last year.   

Passengers arrive at Heathrow Airport in London last month, where they are greeted with a reminder to quarantine if they have not flown from one of the approved counties

Passengers arrive at Heathrow Airport in London last month, where they are greeted with a reminder to quarantine if they have not flown from one of the approved counties

Total capacity of trans-Atlantic flights this month is down 85 per cent from last year (BA planes pictured grounded at London City Airport in March)

Total capacity of trans-Atlantic flights this month is down 85 per cent from last year (BA planes pictured grounded at London City Airport in March)

British Airways, Heathrow Airport, trade body Airlines UK and aviation services company Collinson commissioned consultancy York Aviation to carry out the research.

The US is the UK’s most lucrative market for inbound travellers, with nearly four million visits in 2019.

Arrivals from the US spent a total of £3.8billion last year but that is expected to fall by £3.1 billion in 2020, according to the report.

The analysis stated that the average length of each trip is seven days, meaning the UK’s quarantine rules ‘effectively lock these high-spending visitors out of the UK’.

It also warned of a ‘catastrophic loss in trade between the US and the UK of £45.8billion due to closed borders’. 

Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said the report’s findings are ‘a stark warning that action is needed immediately to safely open up connections with our key trading partners in the US’.

He has repeatedly called for the UK Government to reduce the quarantine requirements for passengers who pay for coronavirus tests and get negative results.

He said: ‘We can start with flights to New York, a city where infection rates are now lower than here, and which is the UK’s most valuable route. 

Heathrow Airport John Holland-Kaye

BA CEO Alex Cruz

British Airways (chief executive Alex Cruz, right), Heathrow Airport (chief executive, John Holland-Kaye, right), trade body Airlines UK and aviation services company Collinson commissioned consultancy York Aviation to carry out the research

‘PCR testing in private labs, both pre-flight and on arrival, would ensure that there is no risk of importing Covid and could pave the way to a common international standard for aviation testing.’ 

British Airways chief executive Alex Cruz said: ‘Government inaction on aviation and its impact on Britain’s economy couldn’t be clearer. Time is running out.

‘Ministers must reach agreement with their US counterparts on a testing regime that minimises quarantine and permits regional travel corridors to reopen the UK-US market.

‘They must learn from trials across the globe and start implementing new measures as soon as possible to return confidence in flying and protect thousands of jobs.’

Mr Cruz last week told MPs British Airways was fighting for survival as it faced its ‘worst crisis in its 100 year history’.

Britain’s flag carrier is burning through £20million each day and will likely see 10,000 redundancies. 

The study noted that airport-based testing for Covid-19 is used by more than 30 countries and at many of the world’s busiest airports, including Paris Charles de Gaulle, Tokyo Haneda and Dubai International.

A testing facility has been set up at Heathrow in a partnership including Collinson, but it will not begin operating unless the UK Government relaxes its quarantine rules.

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Trevor Phillips: All Scots in the UK should get to vote in any independence referendum

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trevor phillips all scots in the uk should get to vote in any independence referendum

Nicola Sturgeon must allow Scots living elsewhere in the UK to vote in any independence referendum or risk torpedoing a future attempt to join the EU on human rights grounds, equality campaigner Trevor Phillips said today.

Mr Phillips noted that the party’s official definition of who would count as a citizen of an independent nation includes ‘Scottish-born British citizens currently living outside of Scotland’.

Recognising these people’s Scottish citizenship but not allowing them a role in deciding the fate of their own country would be unfair, the former head of the Equality and Human Rights Commission insisted. 

Considering would happen immediately after independence, he wrote in The Times: ‘Would they welcome having a citizenship they did not ask for imposed on them? Would they be required, like expatriate US citizens are, to pay taxes to Holyrood? Might they be forced to choose between nationalities without any say in the decision?

‘Or would they potentially be stateless if the remaining parts of the UK simply decided that the Scots needed to look after their own — a scenario that would torpedo any Scottish application for membership of the EU on human rights grounds.’

Trevor Phillips

Nicola Sturgeon

Trevor Phillips (left) says it would be unfair for Nicola Sturgeon (right) to deny Scots who live in other parts of the UK a chance to vote on independence 

Under the terms of the 2014 referendum, only voters who are registered in Scotland were allowed to vote.

This excluded some half a million Scottish-born people living in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Boris Johnson has repeatedly insisted he will not allow a new independence referendum under his premiership, but Mr Phillips believes he may be forced to.  

If these people were included it would be almost impossible for the Yes vote to win, the equality campaigner said. 

He referenced a poll of 7,884 Scots living in different parts of the UK, which found that – out of the 40% entitled to vote, the margin in favour of no was 58 to 42.

But out of the 60 percent not eligible to vote, there was an even larger 41 percentage point lead for the Unionists.

Mr Phillips added: ‘Opinion may have moved on, but it is likely that a further half a million votes might be added to the unionist cause, making a defeat for independence certain.’

Scottish nationalists are determined to block their compatriots outside Scotland from voting because of the harm this could do to their cause.

Scottish nationalists are determined to block their compatriots outside Scotland from voting because of the harm this could do to their cause. Pictured is an independence rally in Glasgow

Scottish nationalists are determined to block their compatriots outside Scotland from voting because of the harm this could do to their cause. Pictured is an independence rally in Glasgow 

Last month, Michael Gove triggered uproar among the SNP after commenting that the move was an ‘interesting idea’.

He was responding to a message posted by fellow Scot George Galloway, who argued that “795,000 Scots living elsewhere in the UK MUST have a vote” if there is another separation referendum.

His comments infuriated separatists including the SNP’s Constitution Minister Mike Russell, who accused the Tory minister of trying to gerrymander the vote following a poll showing 55 per cent support for independence.

Others are opposed to changing the voting criteria due to the difficulty of deciding who counts as a citizen of Scotland, as this could potentially include millions of people outside the country who have Scottish relatives.

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Britain’s ‘Indian summer’ heatwave will end on Wednesday

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britains indian summer heatwave will end on wednesday

Britain’s Indian summer heatwave is set to come to an end this week as the threat of a new lockdown looms over the UK – with temperatures set to plummet from tomorrow after heavy rain sweeps in from the north. 

Those in southern England will continue to bask in glorious 77F (25C) temperatures following a misty start today, before ‘wintry’ Arctic conditions are expected to sweep across the nation alongside potential 65mph winds by Thursday.

Cloudy conditions and heavy rain will cause temperatures to drop in the North West of England and parts of Scotland tomorrow, with a ‘marked change’ in weather expected elsewhere throughout the rest of the week. 

In London, the mercury is set to fall from 75F (24C) on Tuesday to 59F (15C) on Thursday as forecasters warn there are ‘big changes’ incoming as the UK leaves summer behind following the Autumn Equinox.

The impending gloomy weather comes as Boris Johnson looks set to make an announcement on any new Covid-19 restrictions tomorrow, as pressure builds for the Prime Minister to plunge Britain into a second lockdown. 

Sir Patrick Vallance today warned the UK faces 50,000 new daily cases of coronavirus by the middle of October and more than 200 deaths everyday by November if the disease is not brought under control. 

The Chief Scientific Adviser gave the warning as Professor Chris Whitty warned the UK has ‘in a bad sense literally turned a corner’ with rising rates of infection and that the nation needs to view the fight against the disease as a ‘six month problem’ before science eventually can ‘ride to our rescue’. 

Mist seen over Glastonbury Tor in Somerset ahead of the autumnal equinox which will see the end of Britain's Indian summer

Mist seen over Glastonbury Tor in Somerset ahead of the autumnal equinox which will see the end of Britain’s Indian summer

Those in southern England will continue to bask in glorious 77F (25C) temperatures following a misty start today. Pictured: Derwentwater and Keswick in the Lake District

Those in southern England will continue to bask in glorious 77F (25C) temperatures following a misty start today. Pictured: Derwentwater and Keswick in the Lake District

Cloud and heavy rain will cause temperatures to plummet in the North West of England and parts of Scotland tomorrow, with a 'marked change' in weather expected throughout the rest of the week. Pictured: Derwentwater and Keswick in the Lake District

Cloud and heavy rain will cause temperatures to plummet in the North West of England and parts of Scotland tomorrow, with a ‘marked change’ in weather expected throughout the rest of the week. Pictured: Derwentwater and Keswick in the Lake District 

Pictured: Visitors make the most of the hot autumn sunshine as they walk along the busy seafront in Lyme Regis, Dorset as the weather is due to become more unsettled from tomorrow

Pictured: Visitors make the most of the hot autumn sunshine as they walk along the busy seafront in Lyme Regis, Dorset as the weather is due to become more unsettled from tomorrow

Dozens of beachgoers sit in groups on the seafront in Lyme Regis, Dorset today before temperatures plummet later this week

Dozens of beachgoers sit in groups on the seafront in Lyme Regis, Dorset today before temperatures plummet later this week

In London, the mercury is set to fall from 75F (24C) on Tuesday to 59F (15C) on Thursday as forecasters warn there are 'big changes' incoming as the UK leaves summer behind following the Autumn Equinox

In London, the mercury is set to fall from 75F (24C) on Tuesday to 59F (15C) on Thursday as forecasters warn there are ‘big changes’ incoming as the UK leaves summer behind following the Autumn Equinox

Ahead of the unsettled weather, Britons took to social media to warn ‘a hardcore winter lockdown will be much worse than the last’ – as people will have less opportunity to head outside.

One Twitter user said: ‘People won’t stay at home without an extension of the furlough scheme and bad weather will restrict opportunities to get outside and exercise causing a deterioration in mental health. 

‘We need an alternative.’

Another said: ‘Lockdown Number 2 incoming. But with people in a much worse frame of mind and the weather being much s*****r.’

A third user added: ‘The “advantage” of the lockdown was that it was spring/summer and lovely weather.

‘Six months indoors during the winter isn’t appealing for many! More people will just say “f*** this”.’ 

Forecasters have warned amber weather alerts could be put in place later this week as what is expected to be the first named storm of the season pushes heavy rain and winds of up to 65mph across the UK.  

The change in weather, which comes after the Autumn Equinox, could see washouts hit the North West from Tuesday and the south from Wednesday. In western parts of the UK, Storm Aiden will bring 65mph gusts.

Forecasters have warned amber weather alerts could be in place this week as what could be the first named storm of the season pushes heavy rain and winds of up to 65mph across the UK. Pictured: Views over Somerset today

Forecasters have warned amber weather alerts could be in place this week as what could be the first named storm of the season pushes heavy rain and winds of up to 65mph across the UK. Pictured: Views over Somerset today

The change in weather, which comes after the Autumn Equinox, could see washouts hit the North West from Tuesday and the south from Wednesday. Pictured: Glastonbury Tor

The change in weather, which comes after the Autumn Equinox, could see washouts hit the North West from Tuesday and the south from Wednesday. Pictured: Glastonbury Tor

Polar air is also expected to follow, with temperatures plummeting to 59F (15C) on Thursday and just 57F (13C) on Friday, which will also see parts of the north hit with temperatures between 51 and 53F (10C and 11C)

Polar air is also expected to follow, with temperatures plummeting to 59F (15C) on Thursday and just 57F (13C) on Friday, which will also see parts of the north hit with temperatures between 51 and 53F (10C and 11C)

Pictured: Misty views over Somerset this morning taken from a hot air balloon before the clouds gave way to a bright day

Pictured: Misty views over Somerset this morning taken from a hot air balloon before the clouds gave way to a bright day

Pictured: Tweets about weather

Pictured: Tweets about weather

Ahead of the unsettled weather, Britons took to social media to warn ‘a hardcore winter lockdown will be much worse than the last’ – as people will have less opportunity to head outside

Polar air is also expected to follow, with temperatures plummeting to 59F (15C) on Thursday and just 57F (13C) on Friday, which will also see parts of the north hit with temperatures between 51 and 53F (10C and 11C). 

A Met Office spokesperson told MailOnline: ‘Today will be warm in the sunshine with low 20C being reached quite widely. The highest temperatures will be in the southern UK where around 23 – 24C will be seen here, 25C may also be possible in isolated spots.

‘Tomorrow will be another warm day across the bulk of the UK with temperatures widely 16 – 18C in Scotland, 20-23C in England and Wales, and locally 25-26C in parts of South East. 

‘Temperatures will be lower in the North West with some cloud and rain bringing temperatures down although it will still be mid to high teens.

‘There will be a marked change in temperatures as we go through the rest of the week with many seeing a 4 – 5C temperature drop as we see a change to cooler and more unsettled conditions.’ 

Autumn colours are reflected in the water at Buttermere in the Lake District, Cumbria today

Autumn colours are reflected in the water at Buttermere in the Lake District, Cumbria today

Pictured: Rowers on Derwentwater and Keswick in the Lake District ahead of the first day of astronomical autumn on Tuesday

Pictured: Rowers on Derwentwater and Keswick in the Lake District ahead of the first day of astronomical autumn on Tuesday

Forecasters added from Wednesday temperatures will turn 'much colder than recently and unsettled with showers and occasional longer spells of rain'. Pictured: Buttermere in the Lake District, Cumbria

Forecasters added from Wednesday temperatures will turn ‘much colder than recently and unsettled with showers and occasional longer spells of rain’. Pictured: Buttermere in the Lake District, Cumbria

Pictured: Mist over Derwentwater and Keswick in the Lake District today ahead of colder weather later this week

Pictured: Mist over Derwentwater and Keswick in the Lake District today ahead of colder weather later this week

Forecasters added from Wednesday temperatures will turn ‘much colder than recently and unsettled with showers and occasional longer spells of rain.’

Forecasters added from Wednesday temperatures will turn ‘much colder than recently and unsettled with showers and occasional longer spells of rain.’ 

Met Office meteorologist Matthew Box told the Daily Star: ‘Unsettled weather is possibly on the cards towards the end of September.

‘While it is still early, a number of these cyclones in the Atlantic could have some influence on our weather as we head towards the final part of September.’

Meteorologist Susan Powell told the Mirror there are ‘big changes to come in our weather in the next five days.’

People enjoy the warm weather on Brighton Beach on Sunday as Britain sees a 80F Indian Summer arrive to the country

People enjoy the warm weather on Brighton Beach on Sunday as Britain sees a 80F Indian Summer arrive to the country 

People enjoy the weather on Sunday as 100,000 weekend visitors rushed to Brighton with highs hotter than the Algarve

People enjoy the weather on Sunday as 100,000 weekend visitors rushed to Brighton with highs hotter than the Algarve

Cyclists enjoy the empty country lanes on Sunday as autumn begins to make its way to the country and brings in an Atlantic storm

Cyclists enjoy the empty country lanes on Sunday as autumn begins to make its way to the country and brings in an Atlantic storm 

‘By mid-week it will be much cooler, much windier, and for many, wetter as well,’ she said. ‘The reason for the change – we lose the persistent area of high pressure. 

‘That will still be with us for Monday and Tuesday, [but] areas of low pressure will take over from the Atlantic, eventually dragging in Arctic air.’  

The sudden turn in the weather comes after more than 100,000 sunseekers rushed to Brighton on Sunday as temperatures across the UK rose higher than 73F in the Algarve, nudging 80F (26C).

Daytrippers clogged up coastal routes including the A23 to Brighton, A31 to Dorset and A30 to Cornwall on Sunday as Spain’s Subtropical Storm Alpha pushed warm air towards the UK.

Elsewhere, hordes of Britons were spotted enjoying the warm weather on Brighton Beach while others were seen riding their bikes through a sunny Oxfordshire.

Durdle Door was looking busy on Sunday as tourists made the most of the warm weather and paid a visit to the Dorset coast

Durdle Door was looking busy on Sunday as tourists made the most of the warm weather and paid a visit to the Dorset coast

Visitors turned out at Durdle Door on the Dorset coast on Sunday to enjoy the sunshine before autumn arrives next week

Visitors turned out at Durdle Door on the Dorset coast on Sunday to enjoy the sunshine before autumn arrives next week 

Hundreds of people sit at the tables outside restaurants in Soho, central London, as the Government warns Britain is at a 'tipping point'

Hundreds of people sit at the tables outside restaurants in Soho, central London, as the Government warns Britain is at a ‘tipping point’ 

On the Dorset coast, Durdle Door was bustling with people this afternoon and some visitors even swam through the tourist attraction’s famed arch while Brighton is estimated to have seen 100,000 daily visitors and Bournemouth 50,000. 

Hundreds of others flocked to tables outside restaurants in Soho, central London, to enjoy the last moments of Britain’s Indian Summer.

Supermarkets also witnessed a rush in buyers, with Tesco set to have sold 300,000 sausage packs, 250,000 ice creams and lollies and two million cans or bottles of beer, sales trends showed. 

The scenes came just a day after hundreds of tourists flocked to Blackpool to enjoy the town’s famous Illuminations which are on display until January.

Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Deputy Chief Constable of Lancashire Constabulary Terry Woods said: ‘Going to Blackpool, if you’re not from Blackpool, this weekend and mingling in any large crowds, that is not looking after my family and it wouldn’t be looking after your family. 

 ‘What we need to do is focus in on protecting yourself and your family. Make sensible decisions to protect yourselves, going to Blackpool in mass numbers is quite the opposite of protecting yourselves.’

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