Too much time spent on gaming, smartphones and watching television is linked to heightened levels and diagnoses of anxiety or depression in children as young as age 2, according to a new study.
Even after only one hour of screen time daily, children and teens may begin to have less curiosity, lower self-control, less emotional stability and a greater inability to finish tasks, reports San Diego State University psychologist Jean Twenge and University of Georgia psychology professor W. Keith Campbell.
Twenge and Campbell’s results were published in an article, “Associations between screen time and lower psychological well-being among children and adolescents: Evidence from a population-based study,” which appeared this month in Preventative Medicine Reports.
Twenge and Campbell were particularly interested in associations between screen time and diagnoses of anxiety and depression in youth, which has not yet been studied in great detail.
Their findings provide broader insights at a time when youth have greater access to digital technologies and are spending more time using electronic technology purely for entertainment, and also as health officials are trying to identify best practices for managing technology addiction.