Technology: Is There a Link to It and Adolescent Mental Health?

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BBC


Posted on: Wed May 5, 2021 – 6:13 AM | Last update: Wednesday, May 5, 2021 – 6:13 am

Using data collected over 28 years, a study of more than 430,000 adolescents between the ages of 10 and 15 concluded that there was a “very limited relationship” between technology use and mental health problems.
This study examined a number of television viewers, social media users, and device users, comparing them with feelings of depression, suicidal tendencies, and behavior-related problems.
The study did not find any significant changes over time.
The Oxford Internet Institute team reported a slight increase in emotional issues and the use of social media.

Moreover, depression became less associated with using social media and watching television.

However, the changes were limited.
“We are not saying that a few happy people are increasingly using social media, but rather that the relationship is not getting stronger,” said Professor Andrew Pzibelsky, a co-author of the study.
“We cannot tell the difference between the impact of social communication and mental health in 2010 and 2019,” he added.
Professor Pzibelsky described the findings as a warning to technology regulators and lawmakers, who may choose to focus on common beliefs, about the harmful effects of technology on youth mental health when developing new policies.
However, this study had some flaws. The participants rated their feelings by using the questions posed, with the responses recorded by a sliding scale.
The data used did not include the nature of social media or device activity, but only how long it lasted, which was also reported.
So, someone might say that he spent four hours browsing his smartphone device, but it is not clear what he was doing at the time.
There is currently no official way available for researchers to access the data other than submitting an application to obtain it from technology companies, which are not obligated to fulfill the request, or from the participants themselves.
Data on the Oxford study were drawn from surveys that included the United States and the United Kingdom between 1991 and 2019, meaning the period that witnessed rapid development in terms of the type of technology that young people prefer and the amount of time they spend dealing with it.
In addition, devices have evolved to become increasingly multifunctional, with changing trends and a constant flow of new applications, which are used in these devices even if there is no change to them.
The research study was published in the Journal of Clinical Psychological Science.
The findings of research are divided into this area. In January 2021, a study found that heavy social media use was linked to less happiness and self-esteem in teens.
There are also other factors that affect adolescents’ mental health, including the recent Corona pandemic.
The UK government recently announced a £ 500 million investment in mental health services, with £ 79 million earmarked for children and young people.





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