Worried about your child’s smartphone use getting out of hand? You should be. A new study finds that teens who are hooked on their phones and other digital devices are “markedly” unhappier than their less-plugged-in peers.
Researchers from San Diego State University and the University of Georgia examined data on more than a million 8th, 10th, and 12th grade American students participating in the long term “Monitoring the Future” study. Participants were polled on their mobile device and computer use and their amount of face-to-face social interaction with others. They were also surveyed on their level of overall happiness.
The authors found that teens who spent more time hanging out with friends in person and less time texting or video chatting were happier than those who spent more time in front of a screen. There was a notable increase in overall life satisfaction for students who participated in more extracurricular activities or sports, as well as those who read actual print publications more frequently. The research team believes that habitual use of smartphones or computers to socialize was a key factor in how unhappy a participant felt.