Psychologists from San Diego State University and the University of Georgia in a study reported that the less use of smart phones keeps the happiness level high in the teens. Findings of their research study published in the recent issue of the journal ‘Emotion’ shows a steep drop in the happiness, self-esteem and life satisfaction of teens as their ownership of smartphones went up from zero to 73 percent and they devoted an increasing share of their time online.
The researchers used data on mood and media culled from roughly 1.1 million U.S. teens to figure out why a decades-long rise in happiness and satisfaction among U.S. teens suddenly shifted course in 2012 and declined sharply over the next four years. Some studies show that the greater the time spent engaged in online content and social media, the unhappier the child. By contrast, adolescents who spent more time on non-screen activities like in-person social interaction, sports/exercise, doing schoolwork, attending religious services had higher psychological well-being. They tended to profess greater happiness, higher self-esteem and more satisfaction with their lives. Cyclical economic indicators such as unemployment were not significantly correlated with well-being, suggesting that the Great Recession was not the cause of the decrease in psychological well-being, which may instead be at least partially due to the rapid adoption of smartphones and the subsequent shift in adolescents’ time use.