Screen Time No Worse For Kids Than Eating Potatoes, Says Study

Researchers found, at most, only 0.4% of adolescent well-being is related to screen use.

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A new app in China will alert a user to those with debt. (Silas Stein/picture alliance via Getty Images)
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According to a study that appears in today’s issue of the journal Nature Human Behaviour,  previous findings on the harmful effects of screen time on young people may be all wrong.

Using data collected from over 300,000 teenagers and parents in the U.S. and UK in three major studies which were conducted between 2007 and 2016. Researchers at the University of Oxford concluded time spent staring at screens has almost no effect on a child’s well-being.

The findings of the researchers found that, at most, only 0.4% of adolescent well-being is related to screen use. Within the dataset they studied, researchers found including potatoes in an adolescent’s showed a similar association with well-being.

Smoking marijuana and being bullied had, on average, a 2.7 times and 4.3 times more negative association with adolescent mental health than screen use.

“Bias and selective reporting of results is endemic to social and biological research influencing the screen time debate,” according to the study’s lead researcher Professor Andrew Przybylski of the Oxford Internet Institute. “Of the three datasets we analyzed for this study, we found over 600 million possible ways to analyse the data. We calculated a large sample of these and found that – if you wanted – you could come up with a large range of positive or negative associations between technology and wellbeing, or no effect at all.”

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