Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Norwegian teens struggle to reduce screen time

Updated today 12:38 Published 12 May 2024
- By Editorial Staff
Avoiding screens is difficult as more and more essential everyday functions are available on mobile phones.

70% of young Norwegians spend more than three hours a day in front of a screen, according to research from the University of Bergen. At the same time, more and more people are trying to reduce their screen time, but many find it difficult.

Psychologist Mehri Agai has been interviewing young people about screen time to explore how they have been affected by growing up in a digital world.

– Today’s young people are digital in a very different way from their parents. The majority of their communication is digital, Agai told forskning.no.

Her research shows that one in seven young people spends more than three hours a day on screens, with five to seven hours not uncommon. It has also been found that more and more people are trying to practice “digital disconnection”, i.e. disconnecting from screens, but that this is often said to be difficult as a large part of young people’s lives is online.

– But avoiding screens is challenging. Social media is addictive. In addition, more and more important functions such as vipps, BankID and so on are available on mobile phones. This makes it difficult to limit their use, she says.

Need for “alternative activities”

Young people describe different strategies to limit their use, such as using different features to avoid distractions, but also introducing screen-free times or activities. However, the ability to disconnect also seems to be a class issue.

– If they are to disconnect, they need alternative activities – and these often cost money. This can be difficult for low-income families, says Agai.

Screen use is often linked to increased mental health problems among young people, but she says studies have yet to show a link between the number of hours spent in front of screens and mental health problems.

– Even if social media is not the cause, it can contribute to the trend. Likes and the cultivation of the individual as a kind of protagonist in their own channels increases the focus on the individual, the researcher says.

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