Have smartphones really destroyed a generation? We don’t know. But here’s how to find out: Scientists need to ask better questions — and big tech needs to help. Full article here

The 2017 Twenge study reported that in one of the surveys it analyzed, the correlation between social media use and depressive symptoms was .05. Among girls, the correlation was slightly higher, at .06. Include only boys and the correlation dropped to .01 and was no longer significant. 

Correlational relationships, in social science, are scored between negative 1 and 1, with negative 1 meaning there’s a perfect negative correlation (as one variable goes up, the other goes down) and 1 meaning a perfect positive correlation. 

So .05 is a pretty small positive correlation.

And from The Guardian in January….

“We would, in the light of this paper, reiterate our advice that families spend time interacting as a family, that screens are not allowed to interfere with sleep, and that screen-based interaction is no substitute for in-person contact.”

Screen dims young minds – Frequent use of screens by children aged two to five has been linked to developmental delays by researchers in Canada. The more time children were reported to be spending in front of screens, the worse they did on development tests. The researchers say parents should be cautious about time spent with devices – on average, the 2,400 children they studied spent about 17 hours a week in front of screens at two years old, increasing to almost 25 hours a week at three years, before falling to 11 hours a week at five. Meanwhile the electronic bullying of young people has grown significantly worse in recent years, according to the UK’s media watchdog. Ofcom says 9% of 12- to 15-year-olds report being bullied via text messages and apps.