A new study has found that increasing screen time among young adults can significantly affect their cognitive abilities. Experts have found that young people are being diagnosed with various health conditions as an outcome of increased screen use. The study reveals that along with health issues, young adults also develop shortened attention spans that interfere with their mental health in the long term. The growing trend to introduce technology into studies, often intended to improve students’ engagement might be the reason for this issue. Nevertheless, many teachers have pointed out that technological devices serve as distractors in a learning environment.
The authors of the new study have conducted a meta-analysis of 34 past studies and examined several types of screen use such as internet browsing, gaming, social media use, and smartphone use. They have also compared the cognitive performance of people having disordered screen use to people who use technology mindfully. The findings of the study have been released in Science Alert. The outcomes of the study show that people with consistent disordered screen usage witness a remarkably reduced cognitive performance as compared to those who have less screen usage. Experts say that attention particularly sustained attention, which denotes the ability to focus on a continuous stimulus for a prolonged duration is the key cognitive area affected by the elevated screen usage.
The second most noteworthy difference was identified in executive functioning, especially in impulse control, highlighting the capacity to regulate instinctive reactions or reflexes. The nature of screen activity does not affect the findings. As per the study, the concerning trend was not only restricted to children but it was also seen across different age groups. Experts say that social media algorithms are developed in a way to grab people’s attention and distract their focus outward that can adversely affect their ability to focus. Social media algorithms are also compulsive in nature, which makes it difficult for people to disconnect themselves from their screens.