It is often assumed that interacting with traditional types of media improves well-being, while the use of new types of media, such as social media, worsens well-being.

However, the consumption of traditional media, including books, music and television, has little effect on the well-being of adults in the short term, according to a new study published in Scientific Reports.

Weekly polls

Niklas Johannes and his colleagues studied media consumption habits and levels of well-being of 2,159 UK adults between April and May 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, using data collected through a nationally representative survey.

Through weekly surveys, conducted over six weeks, participants reported the time they had spent on music, television, movies, video games, books, magazines, and audiobooks during the past week and their levels of happiness and happiness. anxiety during the day before.

The researchers found that those who consumed books, magazines, or audiobooks had levels of happiness and anxiety similar to those who did not, while those who engaged in music, television, movies and video games tended to have lower levels of happiness and anxiety than those who did not. However, those differences were small and not causal. Those with lower happiness and higher levels of anxiety were also more likely to engage with music, television, movies, and video games, but not books, magazines, or audiobooks.

Systematic review on screen time and depression in young people: no significant relationship

Despite the differences in well-being observed between users of different forms of media, changes in the types of media consumed by participants and the amount of time they spent interacting with traditional media did not predict substantial changes in anxiety or happiness levels. Again, then, there is more evidence that we know little or nothing about how screens affect children, although there are parents who demonize them (being, ironically, more toxic than any screen), as you can see in the following video:

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