Spending time on your smartphone scrolling through social media and replying to messages isn’t bad for mental health, say psychologists.
When analyzing Android and iPhone users, the British researchers found that time spent on a smartphone is a poor indicator of anxiety, depression or stress.
People who scored high on depressive symptoms were found to have stopped using their smartphones than people with low levels of depressive symptoms.
Concern about how much time you spend on your smartphone – and not the actual time you spend on it – is more likely the cause of negative psychological effects, according to experts.
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General smartphone use is a poor indicator of anxiety, depression, or stress, according to researchers at the University of Lincoln and the University of Bath
“It’s important to separate actual device usage from people’s concerns and concerns about the technology,” said study author Heather Shaw of the Department of Psychology at Lancaster University.
“This is because the former have no significant mental health relationships while the latter do.”
For their study, researchers looked at different methods of measuring “smartphone use” using problematic smartphone use scales (PSU), subjective estimates, and objective logs based on screen time.
The first part of the study recruited 46 people who owned Android smartphones and whose usage was tracked for a week.
Participants were also asked about their mental health and ran clinical scales that measured symptoms of anxiety, stress, and depression.
Participants also completed a Problem Smartphone Usage Scale (PSU), which measured how problematic they found their smartphone usage was and provided estimates of their usage time.
For the network part, the participants rated the extent to which they agreed with several statements, such as: B. “Feeling comfortable or excited when using a smartphone” on a six-point scale from “I fully agree” to “I strongly disagree” with higher scores indicating a higher risk of addiction.
The researchers measured the time that 199 iPhone users and 46 Android users spent on smartphones for a week
For the second part of the study, 199 iPhone users were recruited who took part in an online survey and asked them to report their smartphone use in the Apple Screen Time settings for the past week.
iPhone users were asked the same mental health questions as in the first part, completed the power supply scale, and provided estimates of their usage.
Despite the plethora of reports to the contrary, the time spent on the smartphone was not linked to poor mental health.
“A person’s daily smartphone recordings or screen time did not predict anxiety, depression, or symptoms of stress,” Shaw said.
“In addition, those who exceeded clinical ‘thresholds’ for both general anxiety and depression didn’t use their phones more often than those who were below that threshold.”
Previous studies have uncovered the adverse effects of “screen time”.
For example, a 2018 study by the American psychologist Jean Twenge and his colleagues linked a longer period of time on the smartphone screen with lower mental well-being.
This new study shows that people’s attitudes or concerns are likely to lead to such discoveries and affect mental wellbeing.
This is an important distinction for experts who publicly emphasize the need to spend time off their phone – especially during the current pandemic, the experts suggest.
In fact, reducing overall screen time is not going to make people happier during the Covid-19 pandemic, which is leading to more people using phones and devices to keep in touch with friends, family and colleagues.
“Our results contribute to a growing body of research suggesting that reducing overall screen time doesn’t make people happier,” said study author Dr. David Ellis from the University of Bath.
“Rather than taking advantage of digital detox, our research suggests that people would benefit from taking steps to remove the worries and fears that have arisen over time from using the phone.”
The study was published in Technology, Mind and Behavior.
Social media DOES NOT cause depression in teenagers, claims another study
A 2019 study also found no evidence to support claims that social media causes depression in teenagers.
The study was conducted by researchers in Canada who collected data from teenagers and young children in Ontario.
As of 2017, 597 students between the ages of 11 and 14 were surveyed once a year for two years. From 2010 onwards, 1,132 graduates were surveyed annually for six years.
The researchers compared the data taking into account demographics, personal contact, depressive symptoms, and social media use.
By considering all of this information, the researchers were able to conclude that there is no link between depression and social media.
The study found that teenage girls with depressive symptoms tended to use social media more over time.
The results showed that the use of social media did not lead directly to depression-like symptoms in any age group.
‘This finding is in contrast to the idea that people who use a lot of social media get more depressed over time.
“Instead, teenage girls who are feeling bad can turn to social media to feel better about themselves,” said lead author Taylor Heffer of Brock University in Ontario, Canada.