November 18, 2017

Do smartphones have a negative psychological effect?

Motherboard - Depression and suicide rates in teenagers have jumped in the last decade—doubling between 2007 and 2015 for girls—and the trend suspiciously coincides with when smartphones became their constant companions. A recent study places their screen time around nine hours per day.

Another study suggests that suicide and depression could be connected to the rise of smartphones, and increased screen time. Around 58 percent more girls reported depression symptoms in 2015 than in 2009, and suicide rates rose 65 percent. Smack in the middle of that window of time, smartphones gained market saturation. “Even if we call screen time a neutral and assume it doesn't help or hurt, it may still have a negative impact if it crowds out time for seeing friends in person,” lead researcher Jean Twenge, psychology professor at San Diego State University, told me in an email. “The large and sudden increase in teen mental health deserves attention, no matter what its cause.”

Still, other research suggests that using new media to communicate and connect doesn’t hurt teenagers, and can maybe, in some cases, be good for them. Are screens, and especially smartphones, really killing teenagers?

... Twenge’s work has drawn criticism from psychology peers in the past—particularly after her article “Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?” appeared in the September 2017 issue of The Atlantic. Psychologist and author Sarah Rose Cavanagh published her rebuttal on Medium, claiming that Twenge’s data is “cherry-picked” to reinforce preexisting biases, and that she falls into the old “correlation versus causation trap” in the conclusions she draws.

Psychologist Andrew Przybylski told NPR that teenagers today might just be more willing to admit when they’re worried or sad, or better equipped to recognize symptoms of depression within themselves.


Anonymous said...


OK, but smartphones have been around for more than just a couple years.

I don't suppose it could have anything to do with the results of the last Presidential Election... after all, kids don't listen while their parents talk about the alarming things in the News... Right?

Or listen / watch News reports themselves?

And what about other things in the news lately. Not that kids worry, or really pay attention... Right? Police shootings, 'mass' type shootings, an economy that has been favoring 'the-rich' and now Tax Plans that will hurt the average American, Student Loads that cannot be 'forgiven' and now even maybe student's scholarships being taxed, Hurricanes, Government 'dissing' scientists opinions about our Environment, Hot-Heads in the U.S., N.K. extolling nuclear violence, Arabs dissing Iran, Brexit, etc.

Heck, the worst news that I have seen about smartphones lately is the Price!


AgustinG said...

But did she take into account the vast amounts of psychoactive drugs Americans have been feeding to their children?

DreamSpinner said...

No mention at all of the effects of all that radiation,even next to their pillows at night. Why not?