Less screen time can improve the psychological well-being (measured by self-esteem, life satisfaction and happiness) of teenagers, according to a study published this month in the journal PsycNet.
The study found that adolescents who spent more time on electronic communication and screens (e.g., social media, the Internet, texting, gaming) and less time on non-screen activities (e.g., in-person social interaction, sports/exercise, homework, attending religious services) had lower psychological well-being.
Teens who spent a small amount of time on electronic communication were the happiest.
Psychological well-being was lower in years when adolescents spent more time on screens and higher in years when they spent more time on non-screen activities, with changes in activities generally preceding declines in well-being.
The psychological well-being suddenly decreased in teenagers after 2012. The study suggests that changes in the reported well-being of teens was at least partially due to the rapid adoption of smartphones and the subsequent shift in adolescents’ time use.