Parents frequently worry about the effect screen time has on their children’s mental well-being. There is the perception that the use of tablets and phones can lead to issues with mental health. However, a new study has shown what experts have been saying for years. Screen time is not associated with mental health issues.
The study published in Clinical Psychological Science explored how screen time affects the mental health of adolescents. Researchers compared a baseline survey given to 388 adolescents in rural and urban areas of North Carolina. Surveys were administered three times a day over a two-week period to the same adolescents. The survey asked questions related to time spent using technology and mental health. Researchers found that phone ownership and social media usage were unrelated to depression, anxiety, and inattention or hyperactivity.
Some significant associations were found in the study. The study noted that adolescents who sent more text messages reported lower depression symptoms. In addition, it found that individuals who spent more time on technology for school work were more likely to exhibit signs of inattention and hyperactivity. The study also noted that adolescents who spent time on technology creating their own content actually experienced better mental health. This may be due to the benefits of creativity in children.
Limitations of the Study
There were some limitations to the study that may make it not as conclusive as we would hope. The study was based on self-reporting by adolescents. A more in-depth analysis of screen time usage and the content of text messages could further help understand the emotional well-being of individuals.
However, researchers are hopeful that the study will help parents relax when it comes to the use of technology by their children. Parents should focus on having an open dialogue and spending time with their children rather than fighting over screen time. This should open up an opportunity to establish practices for helping children who are growing up during the digital age.
If you or a loved one has a mental disability and has been arrested or convicted of a crime, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. Elizabeth Kelley specializes in representing individuals with mental disabilities. To schedule a consultation call (509) 991-7058.