Screen time no problem for teens - study

A new study has cast doubt on the theory that screen time damages young people's mental health.

Researchers from Oxford University said data collected from 17,000 teens found "little evidence for substantial negative associations between digital-screen engagement and adolescent wellbeing".

Total screen time per day had "little impact on their mental health, both on weekends and weekdays", and even using devices up to half an hour before bed couldn't be linked to adverse outcomes, "even though this is often taken as a fact by media reports and public debates".

"Because technologies are embedded in our social and professional lives, research concerning digital-screen use and its effects on adolescent well-being is under increasing scrutiny," said study author Amy Orben.

"There is a small significant negative association between technology use and well-being, which - when compared with other activities in an adolescent's life - is miniscule."

The data showed to decrease their wellbeing to a degree that would be noticeable, the average teenager would have to consume an extra 63 hours of technology every day - which is clearly impossible.

The data came from teenagers in the United States, Ireland and the UK.

A similar study in January found similar results - that no screen time limit was really necessary. But even that study recommended teens and kids turn devices off at least an hour before bed.

The study was published in journal Psychological Science.