“Many people assume that traditional media, such as reading books or listening to music, are beneficial to our health,” said Niklas Johannes of the University of Oxford, who led the research.” Surprisingly, we don’t have much evidence to support this theory.
In fact, believing that new media is dangerous while traditional media is useful might be arrogant “he stated Johannes and colleagues studied media influence the system of over 2,200 British volunteers for two months in order to understand more. Their habits were then compared to the subjects’ stated levels of worry and happiness.
The study found that how much time people spend within a book versus leaning into technology didn’t impact all that much. In the end, both leisure activities had nearly the same effect on a person’s sense of well-being. Johannes, a postdoctoral researcher in an Oxford Institute program focused on teenage well-being in the digital era, wanted to explore how seven different types of media influenced the pleasure and anxiety levels of participants.
A representative sample of persons aged 16 and up completed six weekly surveys. Participants indicated how much time they spent listening to music, watching movies, playing video games, reading books, magazines, and listening to audiobooks in the previous week. They also expressed their happiness or anxiety the day before each survey.
The study discovered that persons who read or listened to audiobooks were no happier than those who did not. They weren’t any less worried. Participants who entertained themselves with music, television, movies, and or video games, on the other hand, appeared to be slightly more irritated and unhappy than those who did not. “Those changes were so little that hardly one noticed them,” Johannes stressed. The study determined that whether a media person uses or for how long has “little to no influence” on happiness. “When we’re dealing with significant social concerns like mental health, it’s simple to refer to the media,” Johannes remarked.
“However, most studies demonstrate that media has a minor impact on mental health. As a result, their poor image is undeserved.” Nonetheless, Johannes pointed out that social media participation was not one of the activities examined by the researchers. Researchers did not go into the exact content of any of the books, magazines, music, videos, or games, and while they measured time spent with various forms of media, they did not delve into the precise content of any of the books, magazines, music, videos, or games.
The data were examined by James Maddux, a professor emeritus of psychology at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. He pointed out that the study failed to take into account the fact that modern life is not so easily split into old and new technologies. Maddux, for example, stated that he reads 90% of the time when sitting in front of a computer.
Maddux, who describes himself as “one of those elitist snobs” who has always felt that reading books is a better use of time than watching TV or playing video games, said the findings surprised him. He recommended that studies look at the actual substance of the media being consumed next, to determine if what is being absorbed is more important than how much is being consumed.
“A research from a few years ago revealed that reading so-called literary fiction,’ such as Jane Austen vs John Grisham, can lead to an increase in empathy capability,” Maddux added. “Perhaps it also affects what sorts of films and television shows individuals watch.” It would be fantastic, Maddux remarked, if the study’s authors had access to those data.