Happiness Unplugged

Is the key to your teen’s happiness… a smartphone?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

They’re texting, on Facebook, or playing games. They SEEM to be enjoying themselves. After all, they KEEP playing Candy Crush and scrolling through their news feed. But could all of this screen time be affecting teenagers’ mental well-being?

Enter Jean Twenge (TWEHN-gee) from San Diego State University. She surveyed more than one million teenagers over the course of twenty-five years. She asked them about their self-esteem, life satisfaction, and overall happiness. She also asked about their daily screen time activities.

RESULTS?! Happiness, satisfaction, and self-esteem took a big dip starting in the year twenty-twelve. But why? Surprise! This is right when smartphones became the center of teens’ social lives. Twenge believes that screen time is a major culprit in this decline in mental well-being.

Perhaps your teenagers should limit time on their smartphone. AND spend more time on activities involving other people– IN PERSON! They could also try going cold turkey for a couple of days to reset.

And perhaps do a little meditation. Hey wait a minute. Isn’t there an app for that?