Too much media, not enough sleep, and little exercise. Sound like your average teenager? Yes, and worryingly so, according to a recent article by Time Magazine. New research shows that a combination of these three behaviours puts teenagers at risk of mental health issues.

Coined the “invisible risk” group, these teens fly under the radar compared to their traditional counterparts – whose state of mind was easier to identify through their conduct (including skipping school, drinking excessively and doing illegal drugs). Instead, their unremarkable behaviour is a lot harder to pick up and puts them at a larger danger.

Really, it’s not all that surprising when you think about it. In terms of social media, more and more studies are finding that immoderate use can make a person feel unhappy –leading quickly to retreating into oneself, and creating or deepening insecurities (from comparing oneself to the seemingly perfect online lives of others). A lack of sleep is made more of a problem by the fact that gadgets in the room (like laptops and smartphones) emit enough illumination to lower quality of sleep as well; and without exercise to clear the mind and invigorate the body, it’s much easier to slip into a state of depression or anxiety.

This research shouldn’t necessarily be a cause of extreme action, like confiscating all devices and introducing exercise regimes. However, when technology and the ways of being are always moving so fast, I think that it’s important for parents to be aware of these kinds of trends. Otherwise how else will they encourage healthy development in their kids?

Tamara El-Rahi is an associate editor of MercatorNet. A Journalism graduate from the University of Technology Sydney, she lives in Australia with her husband and two daughters.