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In recent years, the tech industry has begun taking cognizance of the fact that too much screen time, especially before sleep, can adversely affect our mental health.

However, a new study argues that’s not the case at all, even in teenagers still going to school.

screen time

The study, coming out from the University of Oxford’s Internet Institute, says that data from more than 17,000 teenagers shows little evidence that there’s a correlation between screen time and a person’s well-being. Published in the journal Psychological Science this week, it casts doubt on the widely accepted notion that spending time with your phone or computer just before bedtime can affect your mental health.

“Implementing best practice statistical and methodological techniques we found little evidence for substantial negative associations between digital-screen engagement and adolescent well-being,” said Amy Orben, a Researcher at the Oxford Internet Institute (OII).

Unlike other similar previous studies, this one focused on adolescents in the US, UK, and Ireland. The youngsters’ total screen time didn’t seem to impact their mental health, regardless of whether it was a weekday or weekend. Similarly, using a screen device 2 hours, 1 hour, or even 30 minutes before going to bed didn’t see, to have any concrete consequences.

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For this, the researchers used both self-reported numbers as well as digital monitors. They also measured every aspect of the teens’ mental health, from social functioning, to depression symptoms, self-esteem and mood, and more.

screen time

“Because technologies are embedded in our social and professional lives, research concerning digital-screen use and its effects on adolescent well-being is under increasing scrutiny,” said Orben.

“To retain influence and trust, robust and transparent research practices will need to become the norm-not the exception. We hope our approach will set a new baseline for new research on the psychological study of technology.”



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