The association between screen time and later depressive symptoms has been found to be small to very small in size, according to this new systematic review .
In any case, the association between screen time and depression depends on the type of device and use. Longitudinal studies are therefore needed to examine the content of the screen and the motivations for its use .
We don’t know as much as it seems
It has been suggested that an increase in time spent on screen-based technologies is the basis for recent increases in mental health problems among young people. However, this hypothesis has been based mainly on the findings of cross-sectional studies .
The aim of the current review was to provide a comprehensive overview of longitudinal studies examining the relationship between screen time and internalization of mental health symptoms. PsycINFO, PubMed / Medline, and EMBASE were systematically searched for studies published up to August 2020. 35 studies, with sample sizes ranging from 126 to 12,866 participants, met the inclusion criteria . The association between screen time and subsequent depressive symptoms was found to be small to very small.
Taken together, these results suggest that the impact of increased screen time on the prevalence of mental health problems among young people is likely negligible or small. To think otherwise, to give an opinion on the assumption that we know more than we do, would be too similar to what an astrologer does when drawing up your horoscope or throwing cards at you.