Researchers in Canada said teenagers who spend more time doing extracurricular activities and less time in front of screens have better mental health. According to findings of the new study published in the journal ‘Preventive Medicine, ‘having less screen time and more extracurricular activities help to improve mental health. Both factors were associated with higher levels of life satisfaction and optimism and lower levels of anxiety and depression, the study said. Mental health is the level of psychological well-being or an absence of mental illness.
It is the state of someone who is “functioning at a satisfactory level of emotional and behavioural adjustment”. According to the study from the University of British Columbia in Vancouva, Canada, longer screen time is particularly harmful for girls, as the researchers saw a “significantly more pronounced” association between more screen time and worse mental health.
The researchers said adolescents — especially girls — who spend more time in extracurricular activities and less than two hours of screen time after school have better mental health, reported the ‘cnn.com’. Lead author of the study, Eva Oberle, said, “Although we conducted this study before the COVID-19 pandemic, the findings are especially relevant now when teens may be spending more time in front of screens in their free time if access to extracurricular activities, like sports and arts programs is restricted due to COVID-19.” Oberle also noted that due to the pandemic, finding extracurricular activities isn’t as easy as it once was. Still, finding something safe for teens to do is important, she said.