Turn It Off

The affects of long screen time for teens


Kat Carlow, Staff Writer

With cell phones and other media devices becoming more accessible to younger audiences, numerous debates have sparked on what kind of effect these devices have on the youth. More specifically, what the effects of longer screen times are compared to shorter ones.

According to the Pew Research Center, 45%  of teens report that they use the internet consistently throughout the day, a number that has nearly doubled from 24% who reported this within the 2014-2015 survey. In addition, 44% say they go online multiple times a day.

“My daily average is five hours and thirty-six minutes,” said Junior William Chenoweth. “It’s not surprising to me in any way.”

Concluded from a survey conducted by Deloitte.com, Americans view their smartphones, on average, 52 times per day.

“That’s crazy,” Sophomore Addy Dotson said. “You could be doing much more than sitting in a room on your phone.”

Kids with higher screen time tend to be less happy than those who engage in traditional activities such as sports, reading printed media, or socializing face-to-face.

“At first, I was surprised that the associations were larger for adolescents than for younger children,” Professor of psychology at San Diego State University Jean Twenge said. “However, teens spend more time on their phones and on social media, and we know from other research that these activities are more strongly linked to low well-being than watching TV and videos, which is most of the younger children’s screen time.”

A national survey of children’s health conducted by the Census Bureau in 2016  found that kids and teens who spent seven hours or more a day on screens (not including schoolwork) were easily distracted, less emotionally stable, and had issues finishing tasks and making friends compared to people who spent just an hour a day on screens (not including schoolwork.)

“I don’t agree with this statistic,” Freshman Yasmin Carrasco said. “I have a screen time average of six and a half hours and I’m the complete opposite of that.”

Currently, the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines set specific time limitations on screen time only for children aged five and younger.

“These findings and others suggest the AAP should consider extending these specific limits to older children and adolescents,” Twenge said.