Research Indicates Increased Screen Time Not Negatively Affecting Adolescents Mental Health
The researchers studied data on more than 430,000 adolescents from the UK and US to find out whether spending more time using technology was linked to mental health, emotional or behavioral problems. If you are affected by anything touched on within this article, follow the links to our various support services or click on the blue logo icon at the bottom right of the screen to start using Cybersmile Assistant, our smart AI support assistant.
An Oxford University study has indicated that increased screen time on social media, television and smartphones is not adversely affecting teenager’s mental health. Recent growth in digital entertainment and more time spent at home has led to parent’s and experts expressing concerns for young people’s wellbeing.
The researchers, who studied data on more than 430,000 adolescents from the UK and US, wanted to find out whether spending more time using technology was linked to mental health, emotional or behavioral problems and were also interested in whether watching more television had an effect on these mental health conditions or led to suicidal thoughts.
They found that there was ‘little evidence’ to suggest associations between young people’s use of technology and their mental health. In addition, the data also showed no significant evidence to suggest that changes to platforms and devices in the past ten years have meant they are any more harmful to young people’s social health.
“These results don’t mean that technology is all good for teens, or all bad, or getting worse for teenagers or not. Even with some of the larger data sets available to scientists, it is difficult conclusively to determine the roles of technologies in young people’s lives, and how their impacts might change over time. If we want to understand the relationship between tech and well-being today, we need to first go back and look at historic data, as far back as when parents were concerned too much TV would give their kids square eyes, in order to bring the contemporary concerns we have about newer technologies into focus.”
Dr Matti Vuorre, Oxford Internet Institute
Despite this latest study indicating that adolescent mental health was not significantly associated with using technology, researchers warned against making confident conclusions based on the findings, pointing out that clearer patterns would emerge over time as more data linked to young people’s use of emerging technologies and their effects on their mental health was made more available by the platforms themselves.
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