Phone-addicted teens arent as happy as those who play sports and hang out IRL, new study suggests

To no parent’s astonish, too much smartphone use attains teens unhappy.

So says a new surveyfrom San Diego State University, which pulled data regarding over one million 8th-, 10 th-, and 12 th-graders in the U.S. demonstrating teens who expended more time on social media, gaming, texting and video-chatting on their phones were not as happy as those who played sports, went outside and interacted with real human beings.

But is it the screen period bringing them down or are sadder teens more likely to insulate themselves in a virtual world? Lead author of such studies and prof of psychology Jean M. Twenge believes it’s the phone that contributes to inducing them unhappy , not the other way around.

“Although this study can’t show causation, several other studies have shown that more social media use leads to unhappiness, but unhappiness does not lead to more social media employ, ” Twenge said.

Though abstinence doesn’t seem to fix the problem, either, as noted in the study, there’s something to Twenge’s theory. Another recent examine by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and also lead by Twenge, discovered a spike in depression and suicide among teen daughters increased the more day they spent on their phones.

That’s alarming, especially considering the age in which children get smartphones has continued to climbing lower — falling from 12 in 2012 to 10. three yearsin 2016.

Twenge has been studying teen behaviour since the early 90 ’s and has been on the forefront of research indicating an abrupt change in behavior and emotional state of adolescents due to smartphone use. She says there’s been a dramatic switching starting in 2012 when younger and younger kids starting becoming ever more screen time.

Researchers observed more of the same while sifting through the data for this study. Teenagers’ life satisfaction, self-esteem and happiness plummeted after 2012.

To back up that work, Twenge’s previous analyses indicate kids who spend at least four or five hours on their phone increase their risk factor for suicide by a whopping 71 percentage, regardless of whether it was cat videos or something else. It was the time spent on the device , not the content, that mattered most.

“By far the largest altered in teens’ lives between 2012 and 2016 was the increase in the amount of day they spent on digital media, and the subsequent decline in in-person social activities and sleep, ” Twenge said. “The key to digital media use and happiness is limited use.”

She suggests teens is also intended to expend no more than two hours a day on digital media, exercising more and try to hang out with friends face-to-face to increase happiness — all things adults could probably use more of as well.

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