Objective: The purpose of this exploratory descriptive correlational study was to examine relationships between adolescent screen time and social anxiety. A secondary purpose was to explore sex-specific relationships between adolescent screen time and social anxiety.
Method: Screen time habits, as well as the Kutcher Social Anxiety Disorder Scale scores, were collected from 84 high school health students (ages 14 to 17 years). Exploratory analysis included independent t tests and Pearson's r correlations between demographics and the K-GSADS-A. Additional subgroup analysis was conducted by sex to further explore the K-GSADS-A.
Results: The majority of parents of students surveyed do not limit screen time for their teens. Both males and females had higher levels of social anxiety reported with higher screen time (p < 0.001). Males that spent less time on screens and thought their parents spent more time on screens had higher fear and anxiety scores (p = 0.02). Females in particular scored higher on the anxiety scale when reporting more than three hours daily on social media (p > 0.05).
Conclusion: Using the information obtained in the surveys, teen mental health is impacted by screen use, especially social media, and by parental involvement, including limit setting and parental use of screens in the home.