When Does Smartphone Usage Cause Unhappiness

The duration of cell phone usage that causes unhappiness.


Since the dawn of cell phones and other screen gadgets, people especially teenagers’ lives have changed.

It is clear that technology changes the way we live. It affects almost all aspects of life including communication.

Unfortunately, the technological advancement does not come without a toll. Although technology makes life easier, it also caused some detrimental issues.

For instance, studies had found that for the last seven years, young adults experienced more depression symptoms compared to the same age group in the 1990s.

This means that the young adulthood today experience increasing unhappiness. But why?

Findings suggest that the unhappiness level was strongly associated with smartphone usage. The longer people spent time in their screen, the more they become unhappy.

What is more surprising is that curtailing cell phone use will not increase well-being. So what can you do?

A recent study published in 2018 suggests that limiting screen time for just one hour a day boosts happiness.

More than one hour will result in increasing level of unhappiness.

The study was conducted among young Americans aged thirteen to eighteen. The demographic data suggest that these young people spent more time on social media and online gaming.

However, young people who spend more time in reading textbooks and engage in traditional social interactions are happier than those who spend more time online.

The leading author of the study, Professor Jean Twenge thinks that time spent in gadgets usage is linked with depression.

However, the study did not examine the direct effect of screen time and unhappiness. In other words, the researchers can only assume the possible association, not causation.

But despite the weakness of the data, the researchers found another important finding – stopping gadgets usage did not link with happiness.

What one can do is limit the screen time. An hour a day is positively associated with happiness.

This means that gadget usage may not be bad at all. You just need to regulate the exposure.

But what makes screen time triggers depression?

The previous study did not directly examine as to how gadget usage links with unhappiness.

However, many studies suggest that social usage has several negative effects on human’s emotion.

For instance, some teenagers feel depressed when they compare themselves with others online.

Other studies also found that bullying happens on the internet. And most of the victims feel depressed.

So it may be reasonable to believe that limiting screen time boosts happiness.

I’m a licensed psychometrician, author, and blogger. I’m currently working as a University instructor teaching psychology. I love writing and doing psychological research.

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