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Researchers have found that people who spent more time on their smartphones, particularly on gaming or social media apps, are more likely to act impulsively and opt for instant rewards.
“Our findings provide further evidence that smartphone use and impulsive decision-making go hand in hand and that engagement with this device needs to be critically examined by researchers to guide prudent behavior,” said study authors from Freie Universitat in Germany.
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Previous research has suggested behavioral similarities between excessive smartphone use and maladaptive behaviors such as alcohol abuse, compulsive gambling, or drug abuse.
However, most investigations of excessive smartphone use and personality factors linked to longer screen time have relied on self-reported measurements of smartphone engagement.
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To gain further clarity, the research team recruited volunteers who agreed to let the researchers collect actual data on the amount of time they spent on each app on their iPhones for the previous seven to ten days.
Usage data were collected from 101 participants, who also completed several tasks and questionnaires that assessed their self-control and their behaviors regarding rewards.
The analysis found that participants with greater total screen time were more likely to prefer smaller, immediate rewards to larger, delayed rewards.
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A preference for smaller, immediate rewards was linked to the heavier use of two specific types of apps: gaming and social media.
Participants who demonstrated greater self-control spent less time on their phones, but a participant’s level of consideration of future consequences showed no correlation with their screen time.
Neither self-control nor consideration of future consequences appeared to impact the relationship between screen time and preference for smaller, immediate rewards.
These findings add to growing evidence for a link between smartphone use and impulsive decision-making, and they support the similarity between smartphone use and other behaviors thought to be maladaptive.
The authors suggest that further research on smartphone engagement could help inform policies to guide prudent use. (IANS)
No More Than Two Hours of Recreational Screen Time a Day Can Save Your Children from Becoming Impulsive
Nine-11 hours of sleep and no more than two hours of recreational screen time a day is what can save your children from becoming impulsive and make poorer decisions in life, find researchers.
Impulsive behaviour is greatly linked to sleep and screen time, found Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group (HALO) at the CHEO Research Institute in Ottawa.
“Impulsive behaviour is associated with numerous mental health and addiction problems, including eating disorders, behavioural addictions and substance abuse,” said Dr Michelle Guerrero, lead author from CHEO Research Institute and University of Ottawa.
The paper, published in the journal Pediatrics, analysed data for 4,524 children from the first set of data of a large longitudinal population study.
In addition to sleep and screen time, the study also captured data related to physical activity — at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise daily.
The ABCD study allowed Guerrero and her team to look at the three pillars of the movement guidelines against eight measures of impulsivity, such as one’s tendency to seek out thrilling experiences, to set desired goals, to respond sensitively to rewarding or unpleasant stimuli, and to act rashly in negative and positive moods.
The results suggested that meeting all three pillars of the movement guidelines was associated with more favorable outcomes on five of the eight dimensions. (IANS)