A new study has found a worrying reason why young LGBTQ+ people spend so much time on their phones…
A new study has found that queer kids are spending significantly more time on their smartphones than straight young people. The recent study, published in the Annals of Epidemiology, reveals that queer kids aged 10 to 14 in the US are spending an average of four hours more each day looking at screens than straight kids, with LGBTQ+ youth racking up an average of 10.4 hours a day on their phones. The study also found that LGBTQ+ children reported higher levels of video game addiction, social media addiction and overall “mobile phone involvement.”
Jason Nagata MD, the study’s author and assistant professor of paediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, explained that one of the reason why LGBTQ+ kids could be using their phones at higher levels is due to “exclusion” from school activities by their peers.
“Lesbian, gay and bisexual adolescents are more likely to experience school-based bullying and exclusion from peer groups due to their sexual orientation, leading them to spend less time in traditional school activities and more time on screens,” Nagata said in a statement.
“Texting and using social media and the internet for virtual communication could be helpful for LGB preteens to find and receive support from other LGB people who may not be available in their local communities.”
On the downside, the kids were also asked if they thought their screen time was problematic. They were asked if they agreed with statements such as, “I play video games so much that it has a bad effect on my schoolwork,” and “I’ve tried to use my social media apps less but I can’t.”
Nagata added that this increase in screen time for LGBTQ+ young people could lead to problems with sleep, mental health and physical exercise. He also noted that due to the young age of some of the participants, some of those studied who identified as straight during the study could come out as LGBTQ+ at an older age, which could affect the outcomes of the research.
Ultimately, the study concluded that LGB adolescents experienced higher problematic mobile phone and social media use than their straight peers.