A new study was organized by Lancaster University’s Kristoffer Geyer and Heather Shaw along with colleagues from Bath and Lincoln universities, and published in Technology, Mind, and Behavior
During this study, they studied 46 Android users 199 iPhone users for a week, measuring the time they spent on smartphones. Asides this, participants were questioned about their physical and mental health, completing clinical scales that measure the symptoms of depression and anxiety. Also, they completed a scale that measured how problematic they perceived the use of their Smartphone to be.
Surprisingly, Findings revealed that the time spent using the Smartphone had nothing to do with poor mental health. Heather Shaw, who is the Lead author revealed that:
A person’s daily smartphone pickups or screen time did not predict anxiety, depression, or stress symptoms. Additionally, those who exceeded clinical ‘cut off points’ for both general anxiety and major depressive disorder did not use their phone more than those who scored below this threshold.Heather Shaw
Rather, the study revealed some association between mental health and the worries felt by participants about the usage of their smartphones.
This measurement was done through the participant’s scores on a problematic usage scale where statements were given and they were asked to rate them. These statements include: “Using my smartphone longer than I had intended”, and “Having tried time and again to shorten my smartphone use time but failing all the time”.
Heather Shaw revealed that:
It is important to consider actual device use separately from people’s concerns and worries about technology. This is because the former doesn’t show noteworthy relationships with mental health, whereby the latter does.Heather Shaw
In a statement, Dr David Ellis from the University of Bath, explained:
Mobile technologies have become even more essential for work and day-to-day life during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our results add to a growing body of research that suggests reducing general screen time will not make people happier. Instead of pushing the benefits of digital detox, our research suggests people would benefit from measures to address the worries and fears that have grown up around time spent using phones.Dr David Ellis