Teens Benefit From Less Screen Time, More Time Outdoors During Coronavirus Pandemic

Putting the phone down and expanding your mind with books, art, and sports is a major benefactor to promoting positive mental health in teens and young adults, especially during the pandemic. Most people's screen time has gone up since we've been forced to quarantine indoors. Don't let that make you default to tossing on a movie or scrolling Instagram for hours. We're all guilty of it, but being mindful of how we spend our time can lead to positive changes in mental health.

Spending less than two hours a day on social media has been linked to decreasing levels of depression and anxiety, especially in teen girls. Most people's screen time has shot way up to the seven or eight-hour range, and for many of us, we have no idea how that happened. "Although we conducted this study before the COVID-19 pandemic, the findings are especially relevant now when teens may be spending more time in front of screens in their free time if access to extracurricular activities, like sports and arts programs, is restricted due to COVID-19," said Eva Oberle, assistant professor with the Human Early Learning Partnership at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

"Our findings highlight extracurricular activities as an asset for teens' mental well-being," she said in a university news release. "Finding safe ways for children and teens to continue to participate in these activities during current times may be a way to reduce screen time and promote mental health and well-being."

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