Big Tech Suppresses Information About the Health Damage It Inflicts on Kids

We believe that modern technology platforms, such as Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple, are even more powerful than most people realize

Eric Schmidt, Google, 2014

  • There is a preponderance of evidence that social media and smartphone usage seriously damage the mental health of adolescents. Suicide rates among adolescents and young women have skyrocketed from 2007 to 2017.
  • Smartphones and social media consumption by adolescents are intertwined. Almost all the social media platforms and smartphones are supplied by the following five Big Tech companies: Google, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, and Apple. These five companies have a total market cap of $3.5 Trillion. They are the wealthiest and most powerful companies in the world.
  • This article shows how these five Big Tech companies use their tremendous influence to suppress information and deter scrutiny of how their products, services, and practices are damaging the health of young people.


This article is a follow up to my pieces Social Media Severely Damages Adolescents’ Health and Suppression of Information and Research on Social Media Damage to Adolescents’ Health, published about a year ago. This article references statistics from 2016-2017, which were not available in the medical studies on which the previous pieces were based.

Social media usage has been heavily linked to adolescents’ mental health damage.  This usage comprises mostly of Facebook (including Instagram), Twitter, and Google YouTube. Most social media consumption happens on smartphones. Most of the smartphone usage by adolescents and young people is spent on social media. Thus, social media usage and smartphone usage can be interchangeable for the purposes of this article.

Google, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, and Apple are the five Big Tech companies (the “Big Tech”) discussed in this article. They provide almost all social media platforms, smartphone operating systems and other software infrastructure. Apple also sells iPhones. iPhones have Google as their default search engine. Through the Apple App Store, Apple controls what apps can be used on its devices. Apple has total control over other media use on its devices through Apple News, iTunes Store, iMovie, and Books. Almost all other smartphones are powered by Google Android. Google controls apps and content in its Play Store on Android, although not as tightly as Apple. Google News is the main news aggregator.

Thus, these five Big Tech companies are the providers of the products and services that have been closely linked to a decline in adolescent mental health, as well as the rising suicide rates.

Adolescents’ Suicides Skyrocketed from 2007

Explosive growth usage of social media platforms and smartphones has coincided with suicide epidemics among adolescents and young women. An increase in suicide rates indicates broader social problems, including but not limited to worsening mental health.

Fig. 1. All Adolescents, ages 13-17, 2000-2017

Data Source:, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.


This graph and other CDC suicide statistics show that suicide rates among adolescents were dropping for long time, reaching an all-time low in 2007. In 2008, adolescent suicide rates started to grow. By 2017, suicide rates among the ages of 13-17 (for both genders) increased by 120% – making them 2.2 times higher than in 2007. The suicide rate increase among girls has been higher than among boys. Suicide rates among 12-14 years girls increased 3.4 times between 2007 and 2017.

Rising Suicide Rates and Big Tech Products

The current suicide rates among adolescents and young women are unprecedented, since before effective anti-depressants were introduced in 1990’s.

In 2007, Apple unveiled the iPhone, which became an instant hit.  This led to an astounding increase in Facebook and Twitter use. Explosive rise in the Big Tech products usage was one of the most important changes in society during this time period. A great amount of evidence shows that typical use of the Big Tech products by adolescents is associated with increased mental illness.

In the past, much less evidence of a specific type of product or service causing such significant mental health issues, would have caused a robust public debate, independent research and government investigations. Why are these investigations not currently happening in regard to the staggering increase in suicides in relation to the use of Big Tech products? 


One obvious reason for the lack of enforcement is that Facebook, Twitter, and Google distribute news and political information, and have a large impact on public opinion and elections outcomes. Most politicians and elected officials (including state Attorney Generals) prefer to appease Big Tech and to go after traditional targets, such as energy and pharma.

Does Big Tech Influence Media Coverage of Itself?

Of course, it does. Big Tech wields great influence on how social topics are covered by the media and, consequently, perceived by politicians and lawyers. The suicide epidemic is covered by the MSM (including Vox, The Nation, CNN etc.), but sparingly and without enthusiasm. Consider that these Big Tech companies have the power to choose what is elevated to a trend and goes viral, and what gets restricted or even completely disappears from the public eye.

Big Tech’s platforms and services are the communication channels over which any public debate happens. The mainstream media (MSM) depends on the Big Tech for clicks, subscriber acquisition and promotion of their articles. For example, the market value of Google is 175 times that of The New York Times ($843B vs $4.8B on October 11, 2019). Even this valuation of the NYT entirely depends on Google’s promotion of the NYT website and subscription services. There are other behind-the-scenes activities, by which the wealthy Big Tech companies subsidize the powerful but revenue starved MSM. For example, Google News Initiative includes active partnerships with Vox, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Guardian, the Poynter Institute, the First Draft Coalition, The Trust Project, Global Editors Network etc. Through this and other similar initiatives, Big Tech companies help fund publications and news organizations, while also requiring them to agree to their Terms and Conditions.  These actions increase both the dependence and compliance of media companies to Big Tech companies. 

Big Tech Specifically Censors Health Related Information

Google’s August 2018 search ranking update specifically targeted health information. Initially, Google’s aim was to demote web sites with dubious medical information for health-related searches. There are many such websites, publishing incorrect and harmful information, sometimes peddling their own “natural” products for profit. When deciding to de-rank them in the search results, Google executives may not have intended to restrict criticism of their own services. But Google is neither the publisher nor the editor of the information ranked by its search engine. It has neither the capacity nor the permission to decide which health related information is correct and which is incorrect.

There are two consequences to Google’s decision to act as an arbiter of truth on health. First, it suppresses the debate on health-related topics, including the health impact of Google’s own services. Second, some of the sources selected by Google as “authorities” on the subject, are not among the best. This applies to professional societies, that have been corrupted over the last ten years by climate alarmism and other leftist agendas. The American Academy of Pediatrics (“AAP”) is the most important one for adolescent health, and a stark example of corruption.

In 2011, AAP published a Clinical Report—The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and Families (Guidance for Clinician),strongly cautioning about the dangers of social media usage to adolescents. It even contained the phrase “Facebook depression” (quotes in the original):

Researchers have proposed a new phenomenon called “Facebook depression,” defined as depression that develops when preteens and teens spend a great deal of time on social media sites, such as Facebook, and then begin to exhibit classic symptoms of depression.

Five years later, after the research had confirmed the existence of the phenomenon, AAP obsoleted this publication and replaced it with a generic policy statement Media Use in School-Aged Children and Adolescents (November 2016):

Research studies have identified both benefits and concerns regarding mental health and social media use. Benefits from the use of social media in moderation include the opportunity for enhanced social support and connection.

This new lack of concern by the AAP on this issue is surprising and brings their credibility and honesty into question. There is currently so much scientific evidence to the contrary.  For example an analysis of a large representative survey states:

Another possibility is that the increased use of electronic communication and digital media during this time period may have changed modes of social interaction enough to affect mood disorders and suicide-related outcomes. For example, individuals who spend more time on social media and less time with others face-to-face report lower well-being and are more likely to be depressed (Lin et al., 2016; Shakya & Christakis, 2017).

See my previous piece for more proof of corruption in the health arena, including what appears to be a co-optation of researchers by Facebook. Other Big Tech companies and even some of their smaller brethren are attempting to emulate Google’s approach.

Big Tech’s Censorship Creates an Intimidation Effect

Gone are the days when Twitter and Facebook only showed their users posts and updates from the few accounts they chose to follow. Now these social media companies decide what to show a user, almost unilaterally, and treat the user’s choice of Friends and those they Follow as an advisory opinion. Big Tech companies make decisions to demote, restrict, or even to ban authors and publishers almost arbitrarily, well beyond the protections they are granted under Section 230 (which only extend to actions made in good faith and voluntarily). Big Tech have also defamed those they have deplatformed. For example, Facebook not only banned Laura Loomer, but smeared her as a dangerous individual.

Whether or not this was their intention, such frequent, unbounded, and capricious exercise of their power over the press creates an intimidation effect. Researchers, authors, and publishers have to consider the potential reaction of Big Tech to the content they wish to publish. Google has also explicitly intimidated researchers who might contradict its agenda, when it forced the New America Foundation to fire Barry Lynn and his Open Markets team. After being fired, Barry Lynn commented:

Google is very aggressive in throwing its money around Washington and Brussels, and then pulling the strings… People are so afraid of Google now.

That’s bad. People shouldn’t be afraid of Google. If anything, it should be the other way around.

Conflict of Interest Statement

The author is suing Facebook, one of the Big Techs.


The quote in the beginning is from The New Digital Age: Transforming Nations, Businesses, and Our Lives, by Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen, 2014.

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john york
November 2, 2019 6:44 am

I would like to see a study on the rise in teenage suicides caused by the steady drumbeat of “the world is going to end because of global warming”. If you all you hear hear from pundits, Demo/Progs, media, parents, scientists, ad nauseum, you have got to be thinking, “Why bother. We are all going to be dead in 15 years anyway.”

Bill Powers
Reply to  john york
November 2, 2019 8:47 am

12 years! Soon to tick down to 11, pay attention John or we’ll take you smart(?)phone away.

Reply to  Bill Powers
November 2, 2019 9:55 am

The 11 year mark is already passed.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  BCBill
November 2, 2019 7:59 pm

According to Greta, it’s now 8.5 years.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
November 2, 2019 10:09 pm

According to Greta, Greta can see CO2 in the air.


Reply to  john york
November 2, 2019 9:46 am


I doubt if the drumbeat would have been anything like as loud if it wasn’t for the amplifying effect of smartphones/social media.

global cooling was a big thing back in the 70’s, but one wonders f there would have been much more widespread panic if social media had been around.


Reply to  john york
November 3, 2019 4:05 am

add being stuffed in front of a tv as a baby then handed a tablet to keep em amused then the cliamte crap and antidepressants that are handed to kids as young as four! with well known suicidal effects on the fools taking them, either while on them or when trying to get OFF the highly addictive so called solutions..
not the slightest bit of awareness that kids with no attention span arent adhd but created BY the tech theyre soaked in.
and far too many adults as well who should know better.
anti-social media rules too many lives

Tom Abbott
Reply to  ozspeaksup
November 3, 2019 4:40 am

“and antidepressants that are handed to kids as young as four! with well known suicidal effects on the fools taking them”

A serious issue that is not being addressed adequately. Taking antidepressants is sometimes worse than not taking them, depending on the individual.

Reply to  ozspeaksup
November 5, 2019 12:47 am

ADHD is real, there is a lot of empirical science behind it now, including actual brain scans showing actual differences. Over-diagnosis? Quite possibly, given the iniquitous state of US Health Care and the de facto prostitution of qualified practitioners to the drug companies.
And as ever with such articles, it fails because it seeks to cite a single cause for a patchwork of problems with roots in many areas of life.
Immediate environment, quality of relationships, economics, life chances/prospects, behaviour of those around them, etc. All play their role to some extent or other. Has social media made things worse? Yes. Has the portable screen allowed selfishness in adults to grow even more? Most definitely. But these are not the only reasons. The destruction of the family unit, the usurping of parental authority, the war on genuine virtue – all these were happening before social media came on the scene.

November 2, 2019 6:51 am

In a situation where a majority of the future of our country (young people) believe that the Fist Amendment to the US Constitution should be eliminated or restricted, does it make any difference whether speech is regulated by their sought-out Socialist government or Zuckerberg?
The founders of this country included free speech as the First Amendment for a reason. I believe that the courts should handle Woke individuals who feel their feelings have been damaged. Like Ron Paul (and Obama, lately) Political Correctness has gone a bridge too far.
And Political commentary should be absolutely uncensored.

Jeff Meyer
November 2, 2019 6:54 am

I think that is about the same time Obama took office……

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Jeff Meyer
November 2, 2019 8:05 am

Actually the increase was when Pelosi and the Democrats first took over the House in 2006. It continued throughout the Obama Presidency with the most recent uptrend clearly due to TDS.

Adrian Mann
Reply to  Tom in Florida
November 2, 2019 5:34 pm

So how come #OneTermTrump hasn’t fixed it? What’s the deal?
Obama Bad! Trump Good! Trump makes deal! America great again!

444 days and counting…

Rod Evans
Reply to  Adrian Mann
November 3, 2019 2:05 am

Hey Adrian, are you related to Mickey Mann?

Bruce Cobb
November 2, 2019 6:57 am

#BigTechKnew. For when ExxonKnew fails. Hey, it’s “free” money, just sitting there.

john cooknell
November 2, 2019 6:59 am

We have created a monster, its not particularly the Tech companies fault.

Human nature can be horrible, bullying, henpecking, etc. we are hard wired by evolution to do such things.

Then you give everybody a thing in their hands, where they can bully away without fear of face to face contact of conflict which evolution usuaaly has meant to control such urges.

Michael S. Kelly LS, BSA Ret.
Reply to  john cooknell
November 2, 2019 2:38 pm

Sounds more bull and hen nature than human.

November 2, 2019 7:52 am

Pop culture, postmodern education and over-prescription of psychotropic drugs, among other things, are what’s damaging adolescents’ mental well being. Social media merely amplify the toxicities and accelerate the damage.

Reply to  icisil
November 2, 2019 10:10 pm

The information that children receive during their education does not in any way allow them to sufficiently understand and evaluate information obtained via social media.
Most likely that information was obtained by their instructors from social media and networks as well.
The parents of these children are most likely social media junkies as well.
The grandparents are probably the last generation who have not been affected by the social media!

November 2, 2019 7:53 am

My B.S. Meter just went off!

I remember when I was a kid how the same arguments were made to fight against comic books and television. It’s obvious that the author hates Big Tech, but really. “Associated with” is a nonsensical term describing absolutely nothing.

Reply to  Bob Shapiro
November 2, 2019 8:23 am

Yes, global warming causes pirate decline!

Reply to  Monster
November 2, 2019 10:58 am

Global warming causes an increase in ice cream and bikini prices!!!

Reply to  Sara
November 2, 2019 10:14 pm

An instance where correlation does indicate causation.

Reply to  Bob Shapiro
November 2, 2019 8:36 am

My exact thought too when I read this. I remember when I was a young kid being told to not watch too much television because it could; damage your eyesight, lead to obesity, make you lazy, cause you to become violent and cause a slew of other problems.

Yes it is very obvious the author hates big tech but I don’t doubt one bit adolescent’s constant use of their cell phones has some affect on their mental health.

Reply to  Bob Shapiro
November 2, 2019 10:03 am

There is a moral panic about teenage female suicide related to social media. As far as I can tell, it’s overblown.

The suicide rate for teenage girls is tiny. The suicide rate for teenage boys is much greater, and always has been.

The suicide rate for non-hispanic black males is about twenty times that for the general population of teenage girls.

In Canada, the suicide rate for some Eskimo (also called Inuit) communities is as much as 170 per 100,000. That’s about thirty times the rate for teenage girls in the general population. link

If you wish to avoid suicide, my advice is to choose your parents wisely. (/black humor)

Reply to  commieBob
November 3, 2019 1:57 am

The biggest by far incidence of suicide is middle-aged men.

Reply to  Phoenix44
November 3, 2019 5:52 am

Since roughly 1998, disease and death rates for middle aged (American) white men and women has begun to rise. link

They are drinking themselves to death or committing suicide, etc. That’s opposite to the trend for every other group in the world. They’re the forgotten people and they are the reason we have President Trump.

Reply to  commieBob
November 4, 2019 11:01 am

and don’t cross Hillary Clinton (/sarc)

Reply to  Bob Shapiro
November 4, 2019 10:59 am

This argument has been addressed in the literature, reviewed in the author’s 2018 articles, referenced in the beginning.

Tom in Florida
November 2, 2019 8:01 am

“Explosive growth usage of social media platforms and smartphones has coincided with suicide epidemics among adolescents and young women. An increase in suicide rates indicates broader social problems, including but not limited to worsening mental health.”

If the trend continues the problem will eventually take care of itself.
As for myself, it will not affect me as I have only about 2 solar cycles of life left.

Reply to  Tom in Florida
November 2, 2019 11:50 am

An increase in suicide rates indicates broader social problems, including but not limited to worsening mental health.

You don’t have to be crazy to be miserable. As Jordan Peterson pointed out in one of his lectures, some folks who look depressed are just at the bottom of a hierarchy. Fix that problem and they perk right up.

November 2, 2019 8:10 am

They click ads so you don’t have to (and discard the results to you don’t see them)! Be the “GI” in “GIGO”. This is a method of fighting back so threatening to Google’s business model that they banned it from the Chrome store!

Reply to  TRM
November 2, 2019 9:57 am

Sounds nice but the ad clicking is the intended goal, not the process.
Clicking on every ad generates *more* money for Google et al, not less.
So you would be literally helping them by installing such “services”.
I would also note that the data feeding the profiling is far more than what ads are clicked; it is what sites you visit (not changed), what you search for (not changed), your online identity (not changed), possibly your email if gmail (not changed), your other platform activity like social media (not changed), etc etc.
In fact, I would not be incredibly shocked if or other similar apps shoved a referral ID onto the traffic to get an “influencer” cut.

November 2, 2019 8:18 am

Going to your source, and looking at earlier data, the rate looks like 11/100k for 89-98. I think you started in a trough. Teen suicide was a big issue when I was in HS in the 80s. As to the current rate, I think a basic lack of parenting may be a stronger factor.

Kids in CA where I live are little uncivilized monsters, both to their society and their peers. Many parents don’t even try anymore. Look at the prevalence of property crime, graffiti, sideshows etc. even in the Silicon Valley, one of the most affluent places in the world, and home to your demon corporations. Social media is, IMO, a net negative, but tools are what we make of them. They are neither intrinsically good nor evil. They reflect the foibles of the user.

November 2, 2019 8:20 am

How evil does someone have to be knowing children are committing suicide as a result of their product and still do more of it

The CDC statistics show an increase of suicides in children and that should be an extreme red flag the Masters of the Universe as Big Tech call themselves to change or be changed.


Bill Powers
Reply to  Olen
November 2, 2019 9:59 am

Socialist Leadership Evil, Olen. They place a greater value on depopulating the masses, than they do saving individual lives. Its collectivist central planning thinking.

Keep in mind they view these suicides as twofers. First: reducing the population of future baby makers. Second: they use the emotionalism created by the suicides to falsely place blame on those defending individual liberties by claiming they, freedom loving people, condone bullying and must be silenced.

They see these suicides as necessary casualties in their war on the Constitution.
It is Win-Win for the Socialist Central Planners and Lose-Lose for the Liberty Loving Individual.

November 2, 2019 8:50 am

Suicide numbers in Holland ar stable since 1985, so it seems this is a US only issue.

Roger Knights
Reply to  Hans Erren
November 2, 2019 12:37 pm

“Suicide numbers in Holland ar stable since 1985, so it seems this is a US only issue.”

If suicides aren’t up (or up only slightly) in the UK, Australia, NZ, etc., the Big Tech is unlikely to be the cause.

Reply to  Roger Knights
November 3, 2019 4:10 am

theyre up in Aus

November 2, 2019 9:07 am

This piece seems to be driven by the author’s emotion rather than facts. One reason for suppressing news about suicide is to reduce suicide. In Montreal, the papers do not report on a person who jumps in front of a subway train. This is because they observed a bunch of copycat suicides every time they did give publicity to one.

I’m with John York above, who wants to see what the effect of the constant message of the world ending in catastrophic climate change. Why bother with anything concerning the future if the world is about to end.

Carl Friis-Hansen
November 2, 2019 9:23 am

As Hans Erren point out, the suicide trend seems different in different countries, despite almost the exact same exposure to Big Tech. See in addition the Danish statistics:

Denmark suicide rate for 2016 was 12.80, a 7.56% increase from 2015.
Denmark suicide rate for 2015 was 11.90, a 6.3% decline from 2010.
Denmark suicide rate for 2010 was 12.70, a 21.6% decline from 2005.
Denmark suicide rate for 2005 was 16.20, a 1.25% increase from 2000.

So it look like there are other major factors involved in the suicide trend.

Joel O’Bryan
November 2, 2019 9:52 am


Now where’s my settlement $billions?

Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
November 4, 2019 10:54 am

Contact your state Attorney General!

November 2, 2019 9:53 am

Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc are editors actively applying censorship in many subtle and less than subtle ways. Nowhere in the popular areas of the internet are there platforms that are impartial — they all operate ‘Freedom from Speech’ and none operate a ‘Freedom of Speech’ policies.

See for more.

Ronald Ginzler
Reply to  tom0mason
November 2, 2019 7:03 pm

You Tube has started editorializing videos that take the “wrong” position on climate change by posting the Wikipedia definition of Climate Change and a link to the article next to the video. I find this outrageous and encourage others to protest this, as I have done.

Ian Wilson
November 2, 2019 10:00 am

If you define – 10 to 24-year-olds as youths and 25 to 55-year-olds as adults, what has changed since about 2010 has been a surge in both the male and female youth suicide rates, with the percentage increase in the female rates being slightly larger.

Male Youth_______12.01_____________16.41 deaths per 100,000
Female Youth_____2.92______________4.46 deaths per 100,000

The same is true of the significantly higher male and female adult suicide rates,
which have both surged over the same time period.

Male Youth_______25.96_____________28.44 deaths per 100,000
Female Youth_____7.35______________8.66 deaths per 100,000

So yes, while it is true to say that female rates have surged in % terms more than male rates, they have not done so if you make the gender comparison using absolute rates.

Reply to  Ian Wilson
November 2, 2019 6:47 pm

“gender comparison”

Male and female are sexes, not genders.

Ian Wilson
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
November 3, 2019 5:10 am

You always get one…

Reply to  Ian Wilson
November 12, 2019 4:57 pm

Actually quite a few people make that mistake.

November 2, 2019 10:07 am

Correlation is not causation. Lets look at some of the top news stories from 2007 …

1. Transition in Pakistan.
2. The Mortgage Crisis.
3. The Saffron Protests.
4. Goodbye, Harry Potter.
5. Petraeus under fire.
6. Chinese-made toy recall.
7. The Virginia Tech Tragedy.
8. Stem-Cell Breakthrough.
9. Barry Bonds breaks a record — gets indicted.
10. iPhone Mania.,28804,1686204_1690170,00.html

Lots to worry about here above the iPhone.

“Gone are the days when Twitter and Facebook only showed their users posts and updates from the few accounts they chose to follow. ”

Maybe I’m doing something wrong … or right … but I get updates only from those I follow.

Clyde Spencer
November 2, 2019 10:32 am

I shouldn’t have to remind the author that correlation does not demonstrate causation. Something has caused a change (unless it is random fluctuation); however, the correlation with social media may be spurious. I think that more work needs to be done to establish cause(s). I’m no fan of ‘social’ media. However, I think that the case presented is very weak.

Rod Evans
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
November 3, 2019 2:16 am

A number of possible drivers have been listed above along with the emergence of social media uptake.
I would be tempted to also look at medical practice and the changes to its delivery of treatments to vulnerable people. I would look at the ease of entering into overwhelming debt and the consequences of that. I would look at the political drivers of depression not least of which would be the ongoing EU political system in Europe. It is forcing unemployment on young adults which is well over 20% in several EU countries around the Mediterranean. It does this while inviting then abandoning unwelcome migrants who imagined they are heading into the promised land…how wrong they were.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Rod Evans
November 3, 2019 12:08 pm


To do a thorough examination of the situation, comparisons should be made between different age groups in the US, and cross-cultural comparisons between different countries.

At the risk of going off topic, I’d suggest that things such as a cultural ennui resulting from having things too easy and not having any real purpose in life besides entertainment and hedonism might well play a role in apparent increases in suicide. Delaying maturity fits into the mix. I’d further suggest that the rise in the popularity of recreational drugs, and the consequent deaths from inadvertent over-doses supports the idea of a culture without purpose or any goals.

A person without a purpose is like a dog without hunger.

November 2, 2019 10:51 am

This article screams junk science.

‘There is a preponderance of evidence’

Translation: we don’t have proof, but lots of us believe it.

‘These five companies have a total market cap of $3.5 Trillion. They are the wealthiest and most powerful companies in the world.’

Appeal to envy.

‘how their products, services, and practices are damaging the health of young people.’

Not their job, mon.

They make useful products. The thrust of this article is to affix liability to these 5 principals for something they have nothing to do with. They are guilty of many things, but they are not the kids parents.

Reply to  Gamecock
November 2, 2019 10:26 pm

Yeah, the whole thing echoed “Climate Scientology methods.” Like the graph ordinate that doesn’t start at zero, and the imputation that correlation proves causation, appeal to emotion, and so on and on. Yes, young people dying is tragic, but the fraction is only about 0.0001. Attribution of any causation when the numbers are so small is difficult, perhaps impossible. Let’s come back to this when there’s some science behind it.

Reply to  Gamecock
November 4, 2019 10:53 am

Anti-social media & smartphones, on which it is consumed, causes mental illness among teenagers. Suicides rate is a reliable indicator. Growth in mental illness cases might be explained away as better or earlier diagnostics, or changes in classification taxonomy.

The article is a follow up on two 2018 articles, which reviewed the available medical research. Some of it contains evidence of causation, and none contains evidence to the opposite.

More recent literature confirms the conclusions.

Clyde Spencer
November 2, 2019 10:55 am

The author claims, “This graph and other CDC suicide statistics show that suicide rates among adolescents were dropping for long time, reaching an all-time low in 2007.”

The suicide rate for adolescents reached a peak of about 6.6/100,000 in 1988, before the internet revolution, and dropped for a number of years before reaching that level again in 2015. You appear to be cherry picking.

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
November 4, 2019 10:41 am

The article says that. The drop in the suicides rate was most likely due to more effective anti-depressants.

November 2, 2019 11:01 am

Won’t be long before some left-wing activist attempts to link the increase to climate change.

Robert Brewer
Reply to  kramer
November 2, 2019 2:03 pm

Perhaps, but I think they will avoid that on the off-chance someone correctly attributes it to global warming propaganda. After all, there is nothing more likely to cause an increase in depression and suicide then believing the world is ending and there is nothing you can do to stop it.

B d Clark
November 2, 2019 11:46 am

A few questions answered .A Swede on a Swede

Martin Cropp
November 2, 2019 11:55 am

A very interesting article as always. There has been an ever increasing influence and control by social media / tech companies.

This was made clear during Zuckerbergs testament to Congress when it was clearly stated that he was the most powerful person in the room.

I consider there is reason for an article with the heading, someone is stealing your children. They are physically there but mentally somewhere else, and influenced by someone else.
I wish you luck and success in your pursuits.

November 2, 2019 12:33 pm

I notice this article does not mention the effects of increased prescription use of Methylphenidate, aka Ritalin, on suicide rates. It would be interesting to see if there is a correspondence.

Reply to  PaulH
November 2, 2019 10:45 pm

There’s a considerable body of evidence that drugs used to treat schizophrenia (for just one example) actually worsen the illness, over time.
Part of the problem is that early drug validation experiments consisted of removing the medication from half the study group and tracking their progress against those left on the drug. This resulted in comparing patients undergoing hideous withdrawal symptoms* to those still taking the drug.
* which can persist as long as a year or more.
I was very skeptical about this until I read some of the recent studies. But yes, the use of ritalin may be a factor, and a large one.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  jorgekafkazar
November 3, 2019 5:02 am

“This resulted in comparing patients undergoing hideous withdrawal symptoms* to those still taking the drug.
* which can persist as long as a year or more.”

People should not stop taking those kinds of drugs abruptly. That has been linked to increased suicides. You must withdraw from the drug under a doctor’s supervision to be safe.

I, personally, would consider taking these kinds of antidepressants only as a last resort, as I have seen a lot of people have bad experiences taking these drugs. If you can get by without them, or can find a substitute (marijuana works for some), then do so.

November 2, 2019 12:59 pm

What if, the increased suicides are due to Tech envy?
Where families are unable to but the latest tech gear for their kids?
Or families are unable to afford pricy phone leases or data plans.

The article above insists that correlation in time or by presumption somehow means causation.

The article is correct, though; there should be serious research and medical inquiries into the suicides.
Finger pointing isn’t going to help anybody.

November 2, 2019 1:10 pm

Today I see kids so distracted.

To learn science and math you have to sit down and work on it. You need to think and work through the problems and develop your understanding. Today kids can just look the answer up on the Internet.

Rhys Jaggar
November 2, 2019 1:58 pm

It is perfectly possible to exist without Google. I have done so for three years now without a problem. I shut my Facebook account down and never even opened a Twitter account.

The way to combat big tech is to simply not use their platforms. Their ad revenue will slump if people do that….

Steven Mosher
Reply to  Rhys Jaggar
November 2, 2019 8:01 pm

click on ads of stuff you dont like and never buy anything

Reply to  Steven Mosher
November 2, 2019 10:46 pm

Very good, Stephen!

Reply to  Steven Mosher
November 2, 2019 10:48 pm

You’ll just encourage them that way, they get paid on views and clicks.

Started using the ‘Dissenter’ browser a few months back and noticed an immediate drop in bandwidth usage. Dissented disrupts most data-mining ‘features’ in modern browsers. Plus you can configure it to send very little extraneous meta-data. Plus you can selectively control scripts, which of course speeds up the browser.

I used Firefox for years which has this ‘reputation’ (rather a claim) for security and ‘protecting’ personal information, yet Firefox ends so much information to other parties in the background that I noticed a clear drop in bandwidth as a result of using Dissenter to do the same things.

For instance, if I note down the bandwidth meter reading then leave Firefox open with three favorites sites open in the background for a day, it will keep using lots of bandwidth, even when I’m not using the computer, and there are no ads being displayed. Firefox is always sending and receiving data unrelated to my use, and sync is turned off.

If I do the same thing with Dissenter, for a day, the bandwidth change is almost nothing, and due to the operating system doing it’s thing (which is another PITA).

The longer we tolerate browsers that send data wherever they want, for the dubious pleasure of using their ‘free’ browsers then the big-tech exploitation is not going away and ISP’s will keep slugging us for the ever-rising bandwidth needs just to do the same things I’ve always done.

i.e. we’re paying to subsidize people taking our data in such unwanted ways.

November 2, 2019 3:19 pm

Get some ex Big Tobacco lawyers, own up, pay the money (its only a few Bill) and move on, promising to do better (or at least CYA better) Get it over and done with.

Reply to  yarpos
November 4, 2019 10:37 am


November 2, 2019 10:14 pm

The information that children receive during their education does not in any way allow them to sufficiently understand and evaluate information obtained via social media.
Most likely that information was obtained by their instructors from social media and networks as well.
The parents of these children are most likely social media junkies as well.
The grandparents are probably the last generation who have not been affected by the social media!

Michael Carter
November 3, 2019 1:08 am

A stat that may be worth looking at is any increase in the number of children growing up in single parent families. I asked this of a teacher of the largest boys secondary school in my local city (re his school) the answer was > 50 % . I was shocked.

Also, many boys in NZ go right through primary school (< 13 yrs old) without ever being taught by a male teacher. Approx 85% of primary teachers in NZ are female. Male applications plummeted when the big "all men are molesters" BS came down.

November 3, 2019 1:56 am

All suicides are terrible but this stuff is highly misleading. Why rates have increased having fallen for so long is entirely unclear. However, rates remain thankfully extremely low historically. If we assume that of the 100,000 young people pretty much all are similarly exposed to Big Tech then we are talking about 3-5 additional suicides amongst that 100,000. That’s a percentage of 0.004. The claim you can blame a general exposure for such a tiny figure is just nonsensical.

There is real evidence however that anti-depressants increase the suicide rate, though it remains contentious. There is some evidence the doomsday cultists are affecting children’s mental health. There is some evidence suicide attempts are slightly more successful for various reasons .

Otherwise this us just conspiracy theory silliness.

Tom Abbott
November 3, 2019 5:23 am

Are there any statistics on suicide rates by political party?

If you want to know what has depressed people over the past decade or so, I would have to blame the Obamas.

Obama disparages the United States at every opportunity.

Obama disparages Law Enforcement and portrays them as racist. We are seeing the results of that today with Obama legitimizing disrespect for the police.

Obama says the Muslim “Call to Prayer” is the most beautiful sound in the world (that certainly depresses me:).

Obama tries to undermine the U.S. Constitution and a duly elected president by using the power of the Federal Government against him.

Michelle Obama said she had never felt pride in the United States until after her husband was elected president.

Michelle Obama says white people run away from her.

And people listen to these fools. It’s depressing.

Feel free to add more examples of the Obama’s doing things to depress people.

Rod Evans
November 3, 2019 5:26 am

Interesting, but this is nothing more than an opinion piece.
There is no substitute for good parenting, ongoing parental support, and having two parents that set you off in life, being the same two parents that support you through it.
I have no religious belief, other than nature is everything.

November 3, 2019 7:33 am

Maybe it’s not the phone. Maybe it’s the games …

The seventh generation of video game consoles began on November 22, 2005. For home consoles, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 was released on November 22, 2005, which was soon followed by the release of Sony Computer Entertainment’s PlayStation 3 and Nintendo’s Wii on November 19, 2006, the following year. Each new console introduced new technologies.

In 2009, a few cloud computing services were announced targeted at video games. These services allow the graphics rendering of the video games to be done away from the end user, and a video stream of the game to be passed to the user.
[ … ]
On June 14, 2010, during E3, Microsoft revealed their new Xbox 360 console referred to as the Xbox 360 S or Slim. Microsoft made the unit smaller and quieter, while also installing a 250GB hard drive and built-in 802.11n WiFi.[87] It started shipping to US stores the same day, not reaching Europe until July 13.
[ … ]
The Onlive cloud-based gaming system was one of the first cloud gaming systems known in video game history.

In the history of video games, the eighth generation of consoles is the current generation. It includes those consoles released since 2012 by Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony. For home video game consoles, the eighth generation began on November 18, 2012, with the release of the Wii U, and continued with the release of the PlayStation 4 on November 15, 2013,[1] and the Xbox One on November 22, 2013.

As I wrote earlier, correlation is not causation. And in this case there are many of potential correlates that the author didn’t mention let alone examine.

Anthony Judge
November 3, 2019 8:09 am

From the UK ONS – Office of National Statistics.

Main points

In 2018, there were 6,507 suicides registered in the UK, an age-standardised rate of 11.2 deaths per 100,000 population; the latest rate is significantly higher than that in 2017 and represents the first increase since 2013.
Three-quarters of registered deaths in 2018 were among men (4,903 deaths), which has been the case since the mid-1990s.
The UK male suicide rate of 17.2 deaths per 100,000 represents a significant increase from the rate in 2017; for females, the UK rate was 5.4 deaths per 100,000, consistent with the rates over the past 10 years.
Scotland had the highest suicide rate in GB with 16.1 deaths per 100,000 persons (784 deaths), followed by Wales with a rate of 12.8 per 100,000 (349 deaths) and England the lowest with 10.3 deaths per 100,000 (5,021 deaths); figures for Northern Ireland will be published later this year by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency.
Males aged 45 to 49 years had the highest age-specific suicide rate (27.1 deaths per 100,000 males); for females, the age group with the highest rate was also 45 to 49 years, at 9.2 deaths per 100,000.
Despite having a low number of deaths overall, rates among the under 25s have generally increased in recent years, particularly 10 to 24-year-old females where the rate has increased significantly since 2012 to its highest level with 3.3 deaths per 100,000 females in 2018.
As seen in previous years, the most common method of suicide in the UK was hanging, accounting for 59.4% of all suicides among males and 45.0% of all suicides among females.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Anthony Judge
November 3, 2019 12:18 pm


It has commonly been recognized that one group most at risk for suicide is old White men with a terminal illness, who didn’t want to go through the pain and leave their family with crippling medical bills. The other group is young Black males with little prospect of finding a decent job and living the Middle Class dream. With drugs and gangs being an alternative, many choose to just drop out — permanently.

Suicide is a complex phenomena with inverse correlations to homicides being demonstrated, and apparent influences from the number of hours of sunshine. A simplistic answer to a complex problem has low probability of being right.

Barry Stern
November 3, 2019 5:11 pm

Electromagnetic fields (EMF) and information-carrying radio waves alter the chemical structure of certain brain proteins and prevent our cells from detoxifying. Inability of cells to detoxify is especially serious for young children and those recovering from illness. Indeed, exposure to high EMR levels increase recovery times from disease and are strongly associated with sleep disorders, neurological disorders such as attention deficit (ADD and ADHD) and autism, cancer, heart disease, DNA damage, tissue damage, learning and memory deficits, reproductive system changes in animals and humans and even allergies.

EMR has become that much more dangerous with the advent of the “Internet of Things” (ioT) that is starting to use 4G/5G Close Proximity Microwave Radiation Antennas (CPMRA) in residential zones. Many believe this technology is a proven health, safety and liability hazard. For example, since 2004 California’s Firefighters Unions has been entering substantial evidence into the public record that cell towers on or near fire stations caused brain abnormalities in every firefighter examined.

For additional information on this and related health issues, see my article:

[Good grief man, seek help . . . mod]

V for Vendetta
November 4, 2019 7:22 am

The German psychiatrist Dr. Manfred Spitzer has written two books with the titles “Digital Dementia” and “Cyber Sick”. He cites countless studies coming to the conclusion that digital media can be very harmful if used unreasonable and too early in childhood. Besides, he also warns of an increase of isolation/loneliness. Social skills need to be honed and many people look more often onto displays than their fellow human beings.

Another author, Michael Hüther, has written a book about the current education system, childhood and upbringing. It’s called “Childhood 6.7”. Children have never been so mentally and physically ill and so anti-empathic like the current generations. Now have a look at Extinction Rebellion and Fridays for Future, generation “smart”phone.

Besides, there are lots of concerncs when it comes to 5G. Certain organizations call it a giant waste of resources, a health risk and the start of total surveillance.

Technology can be useful if reasonably used, but when I have a look at the ruling class, then I fear for the worst. They don’t care about us and most of them seem to be incompetent psychopaths manipulated by some very rich and powerful people (“Superclass: The Global Power Elite and the World They Are Making” by David Rothkopf).

November 4, 2019 7:24 am

So lets see these Attorneys General leave Exxon alone and go after Big Tech. They have deep pockets too!

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