How much is too much screen time?

NZ Herald 27 January 2018
Family First Comment: “Wondering if the increase in smartphone usage correlated to the decrease in teenager happiness, the researchers looked deeper into the data. When analysing the number of hours the participants spent on their devices, they found a strong correlation between increased hours of daily screen time and decreased psychological well-being amongst teenagers.”
Read our 2015 (!!) report on this issue

Do teenagers spend too much time on their screens? Some say ‘yes’ – they should put their devices down more; others ‘no’ – screen time is important to help prepare young people for a digitally-filled future.

New research out this week has added quantitative data to the debate, concluding that the ideal amount of screen is only one hour per day.

Previous studies have found high amounts of screen time to be associated with attention problems, school difficulties, sleep and eating disorders and obesity – although many of these studies have been small in terms of sample size and run over short time scales.

This most recent study, published in the journal Emotion, studied over 1.1 million teenagers aged 13-18 who had taken part in a large national study in the US. The study looked at the teenagers’ psychological well-being, assessing traits including their self-esteem, life satisfaction and happiness.

They found that all three of those factors rose steadily from the 1990s and then dramatically dropped after the year 2012. The main change over this time was the percentage of teens who owned and used smartphones, which jumped from 37% in 2012 to 89% in 2016.

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