Screen Time Use Among US Adolescents Has Spiked Amid COVID-19 Pandemic and is Linked with Poor Mental Health and Stress
A new analysis published in JAMA Pediatrics found that the since the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a marked increase in US adolescent screen time use, up to almost eight hours per day. The implications of these findings are important, considering excessive screen time use in adolescents is linked with physical and mental health risks.
Researchers analyzed data on a sample of 5,412 adolescents (aged 12-13, 50.7% female, 49.3% male) from the May 2020 COVID-19 survey (COVID-19 Rapid Response Research Release) from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study. The sample was both racially and ethnically diverse (7.2% Asian, 11.1% Black, 17.2% Hispanic, Latina, and Latino, 2.5% Native American, 60% White, 1.4% Other).
According to the results, adolescents reported an average of 7.70 hours per day of screen use, mostly spent watching or streaming videos, movies, or TV shows (2.42 h/d). Streaming/watching content use was followed by multi-player gaming (1.44 h/d), and single-player gaming (1.17 h/d). The researchers observed that higher total screen use was associated with poorer mental health (B, 0.29; 95% CI, 0.06-0.52; P = .01), and greater perceived stress (B, 0.67; 95% CI, 0.43-0.91; P < .001).
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