More than a million kids in either eighth, tenth, or twelfth grade participated in a longitudinal study called Monitoring the Future. These students were asked about the amount of times they spend on their digital devices, about their social interactions, and about their happiness, according to Science Daily. Researchers took that data and analyzed it to find the link between self-reported happiness in teens and the amount of time they spend on their screens. The results were unsurprising. Teens who spend an excess amount of time on their devices are not happy. At least, not as happy as their peers. Specifically, teens who spent time in activities which didn’t include their screens, including in-person social activities, were happier than those who spent their time on screens. Interestingly, the researchers found that teens who completely abstain from their digital devices are not necessarily happier than their peers who use them. “The happiest teens used digital media a little less than an hour per day,” the website explains about the findings, “But after a daily hour of screen time, unhappiness rises steadily along with increasing screen time…” Researchers suggest spending no more than two hours a day interacting with screens and any kind of digital media. Additionally, teens should spend more time actually engaging in face-to-face interactions with their peers and family members. Lastly, the researchers emphasize teens’ need for exercise. Exercise is considered to be an evidence-based treatment method for individuals living with any kind of mental health strain. Kids are naturally full of energy and need to expel that energy in a healthy way. Digital devices simulate the natural light from the sun and stimulate kids’ brains, while exhausting their bodies. The blue light from digital devices is known to interrupt sleep patterns. Exercise, on the other hand, is proven to improve sleep patterns significantly and can help teens with their focus in school, on tasks, and much more.
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