UNDATED (AP) — Rising suicide rates and depression in U.S. teens and young adults have prompted researchers to ask a provocative question: Could the same devices that some people blame for contributing to tech-age angst also be used to detect it?
The idea has sparked a race to develop apps that warn of impending mental health crises. Call it smartphone psychiatry or child psychology 2.0.
Studies have linked heavy smartphone use with worsening teen mental health. But they also leave digital footprints that might offer clues to their psychological well-being.
Changes in typing speed, voice tone, word choice and how often kids stay home could signal trouble, according to preliminary studies. Depression affects about 3 million U.S. teens, and rates have climbed in the past decade. One expert says there might be as many as 1,000 smartphone “biomarkers” for depression.