Researchers from the University of Colorado at Boulder examined the relationships between screen time use in young adolescents, ages 9 to 10 years, and a range of well-being outcomes.
Lead author Katie Paulich, a PhD student in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience found that higher amounts of total screen time are associated with higher levels of externalizing symptoms, oppositional defiance disorder, conduct disorder, attention problems, and ADHD symptoms.
According to researchers, more screen time is also associated with poorer academic performance and poorer sleep quantity and quality.
Finally, more screen time is associated with greater quantity and quality of peer relationships. They did not find strong evidence for correlations between screen time and depression, anxiety, or general internalizing.
While more research is necessary, it could be that the type of screen time matters more than the amount, Paulich said. Because the new study looked only at youth aged 9 and 10, the findings don’t necessarily apply to older kids. The researchers intend to follow the group over time.