Friday, 28 June 2019

Screentime Research

A pair of Oxford researchers have published a paper in Nature on adolescent computer use effects, showing that "screen use itself has at most a tiny association with youth mental health" (Orben & Baukney-Przybylski, 2019). Director of Research at Oxford's Internet Institute, Professor Andrew Baukney-Przybylski, continues "The 0.4% contribution of screen use on young people's mental health needs to be put in context for parents and policymakers. Within the same dataset, we were able to demonstrate that including potatoes in your diet showed a similar association with adolescent wellbeing. Wearing corrective lenses had an even worse association".

With 300,000 young research participants, this paper is a meta-study of three large pieces of research on well-being and digital-technology use in the UK and the US between 2007 and 2016. Orben & Baukney-Przybylski (2019) reviewed the data sets, and running all theoretically plausible analyses available, which included both dependent and independent variables, including, and excluding, co-variates. The number of analyses allowed a complex understanding of the associations and variation between digital-technology use and well-being to be developed.

And the bottom-line? There appears to be little to no causal relationship between screen use and lack of well-being. The results show instead that smoking marijuana has 2.7 times more negative association; being bullied, 4.3 times. Well-being is more strongly related to having enough sleep, and having breakfast.

Sam

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