Researchers have found that social media use, television viewing and computer use, but not video gaming, are linked to an increase in anxiety symptoms among adolescents.
The study, published by Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, shows that a higher than average frequency of social media use, television viewing and computer use over four years predicts more severe symptoms of anxiety for the same time frame.
"These findings suggest that one way to help teens manage anxiety could be to help them limit the amount of time they spend in front of screens", said a study researcher Patricia Conrod from the University of Montreal in Canada.
Over and above a potential common vulnerability to both sets of behaviours, the study demonstrates that if a teen experienced an increase in their social media use, television viewing and computer use in a given year which surpassed their overall average level of use, then his or her anxiety symptoms also increased in that same year.
Furthermore, when adolescents decreased their social media use, television viewing, and computer use, their symptoms of anxiety became less severe. Thus, no lasting effects were found.