Time spent in front of screens would not impact adolescent mental health, according to a recent study by Oxford scientists.
Is there really a link between the time spent in front of screens and the well-being of adolescents ? Many parents are convinced of this, yet research by Oxford academics has failed to to issue relevant evidence on this topic. After analyzing data from more than 17,000 adolescents, they say there is no real connection. Scientists are casting doubt on the widespread belief that spending time online, playing or watching television, especially before bedtime, can affect the mental health of young people. The study was published on the Oxford University website.
A study of greater magnitude than the previous ones
Unlike previous research, the Oxford study analyzed data from several countries to support its findings: Ireland, the United States and the United Kingdom. The researchers used a more rigorous methodology to quantify the daily time a teenager spends on screens, including both self-reported measures and time-use logs.
This is all the more important since many studies on this subject rely solely on self-assessment of the time spent in front of the screens, which decreases their reliability (recent work has revealed that only a third of participants gave accurate information on the time they spent online).
After the analysis of all these data, the new findings are surprising: the teenage screen time of adolescents would only little impact on their mental health, both on weekends and on weekdays. In addition, the use of digital screens two hours, one hour or 30 minutes before bedtime is not clearly related to a decrease in their well-being, even though this is often considered a fact by the media and the public. public debates.
"By applying statistical and methodological best practiceswe found little evidence of negative associations between the use of a digital screen and the well-being of adolescents, "said Amy Orben, a researcher at the Oxford Internet Institute." The technologies that are an integral part of our social and professional lives, research on the use of the digital screen and its effects on the well-being of adolescents is receiving increasing attention, "she adds." In order to maintain the trust of the general public, this type of research should all be so transparent. We hope that our approach will establish a new baseline for new research on the psychological study of technology ".