Teens and tech –maybe we’re worrying too much

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A new study published this week suggests the fears and worries over the negative impact of digital technology on young people may be overblown.

In fact, according to the research, “technology use has a nearly negligible effect on adolescent psychological well-being, measured in a range of questions addressing depressive symptoms, suicidal ideation, pro-social behavior, peer-relationship problems and the like.”

In other words, reports of the mental degradation and destruction of teens through the use of modern tech and social media are greatly exaggerated.

The scientists at Oxford University who conducted the research say wearing glasses has a greater negative impact on adolescent mental health than tech use.

So why are there so many studies linking tech with teen troubles? The Oxford researchers believe it’s because many studies rely on analysis of large, publicly available data sets. Because they are so large, they can be analyzed millions of different ways, each producing different results.

If  researchers have a bias toward a particular outcome, they are likely to find an analysis that fits their expectations.

Which can lead to results, conclusions and proclamations that are blown out of proportion.

The Oxford researchers also note that their findings are based on normal use of technology. An abnormal focus on social media or other digital interests might product the negative effects on teens highlighted in various studies.

You can read the full study here.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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