Too much screen time makes you miserable

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Studies found that levels of happiness were higher when participants were outdoors and lower when they spent more time on a device.  Picture: File
Studies found that levels of happiness were higher when participants were outdoors and lower when they spent more time on a device. Picture: File

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Getting out of the house, switching off your devices and spending less time in front of a screen can improve your happiness levels during lockdown, a study has shown. 

Researchers from Anglia Ruskin University in the UK studied 286 people from Austria during a hard lockdown in April that limited the time they could spend outside.

They found that levels of happiness were higher when participants were outdoors and lower when they spent more time on a device.

The team behind the study say governments should tell people to get some fresh air instead of staying indoors to improve their mood during a Covid-19 lockdown. 

Read: An ‘awe walk’ a week will boost positivity

Previous studies have shown that being outdoors, particularly in green spaces, can improve mental health by promoting a more positive body image.

Irrespective of everything else, greater daily screen time was associated with lower levels of happiness [in other words, the effect of screen time was independent of being indoors/outdoors).
Professor Viren Swami

This prompted academics from Anglia Ruskin, the Karl Landsteiner University in Austria and Perdana University in Malaysia to examine the impact of getting outside on mood, during an enforced national lockdown.

They also looked at the impact daily screen time (TVs, computers and smartphones) and feelings of loneliness had on someone’s mood during lockdown.

Study co-author Professor Viren Swami from Anglia Ruskin said: “All we can say is that our participants were happier when they were outdoors compared with indoors, irrespective of what they were doing outdoors. 

“Irrespective of everything else, greater daily screen time was associated with lower levels of happiness [in other words, the effect of screen time was independent of being indoors/outdoors),” Swami said.

“We also found that greater daily screen time was associated with higher levels of loneliness.” – MailOnline


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