Becoming hooked on social media for many hours each day heightens the risk of depression, an international conference was told.
Addiction to social media may contribute to poor quality sleep and anxiety and raises the danger of a person going into depression, according to Somchai Chakkraband, adviser to the public health minister.
Dr Somchai was speaking at an international symposium titled “Mental Health in a Changing World: The New Challenges”, which was held on Wednesday in Bangkok.
Citing statistics on Thai people’s use of the internet, Dr Somchai said 82% of the population or 57 million Thais have daily access to the internet. Of them, 51 million regularly engage with social media via mobile phones.
Daily usage of the internet per person often exceeds nine hours, he said.
Kiatiphum Wongrajit, director-general of the Department of Mental Health, said growing addiction to social media has left many users stressed and less patient. Youngsters are also addicted to internet games.
The department has opened a hotline to provide advice to ease resulting emotional and psychological stress. More than 800,000 people had called in with many parents saying they have trouble communicating with children addicted to social media. They were concerned their children were not managing their time properly.
Youngsters who spend a lot of time on the internet tend to perform poorly at school, resulting in them being reprimanded by their parents, which builds stress.
Dr Kiatiphum noted emotional and psychological problems stemming from stress caused by social media addiction are on the rise.