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Michigan State University

Disconnection, Not Screen Time, is the Problem

Keith Hampton, a professor in the?Department of Media and Information?and director of academic research in the?Quello Center, says he doesn’t worry about screen time—he worries about adolescents who are disconnected due to limited access to the internet.? 

“Teens who are disconnected from today’s technologies are more isolated from their peers, which can lead to problems,” Hampton said. “Social media and video games are deeply integrated into youth culture, and they do more than entertain. They help kids to socialize, they contribute to identity formation and provide a channel for support.”? 

In a?peer-reviewed paper?based on a survey of 3,258 rural adolescents, Hampton and his team?found that teens who had poor internet access at home and teens who had parents that exerted the most control over their media use also had markedly lower self-esteem. 

“Isolation doesn’t come from being online,” Hampton said. “It comes from being disconnected from those sources of entertainment and socialization that permeate teens’ lives.”  



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