Use of digital technology not linked to mental health: Study

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WASHINGTON: A recent study has revealed that spending more time on smartphones is in no way related to mental health. The study was published in the journal — Clinical Psychological Science.

The study tracked young adolescents on their smartphones to test whether more time spent using digital technology was linked to worse mental health outcomes. The researchers found little evidence of longitudinal or daily linkages between digital technology use and adolescent mental health.

“It may be time for adults to stop arguing over whether smartphones and social media are good or bad for teens’ mental health and start figuring out ways to best support them in both their offline and online lives,” said Candice Odgers, professor of psychological science at the University of California.

The study surveyed more than 2,000 youth and then intensively tracked a subsample of nearly 400 teens on their smartphones multiple times a day for two weeks.

Adolescents in the study were between 10 and 15 years old and represented the economically and racially diverse population of youth attending North Carolina public schools.

“Contrary to the common belief that smartphones and social media are damaging adolescents’ mental health, we don’t see much support for the idea that time spent on phones and online is associated with increased risk for mental health problems,” said Michaeline Jensen, assistant professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina

The researchers collected reports of mental health symptoms from the adolescents three times a day and they also reported on their daily technology usage each night.