Taking time out to go Scroll Free

by Yvonne Kelly

This week marks the start of the Royal Society for Public Health’s Scroll Free September campaign, encouraging people to take a break from social media.

In 2015, in some of the first research to examine the potential harms of excessive screen time and social media use, we found that children who were heavy users of screen-based media were less happy and had more social and emotional problems than their peers who used it moderately. Children who used social media sites for chatting were also less likely to be happy and more likely to have problems than their peers who did not.

More recently, our work on the trends for boys’ and girls’ social media use showed that 10 year-old girls who spent an hour or more on a school day chatting online had considerably more social and emotional problems by age 15 than girls of the same age who spent less or no time on social media. The number of problems they faced also increased as they got older, which was not the case for boys. The research was based on the experiences of 10,000 10-15 year-olds in the Understanding Society study. Continue reading

Are we looking for happiness in all the wrong places? An academic’s role in ‘The Happiness Project’ by the Roundhouse

Gundi Knies is a Research Fellow at the ESRC Research Centre on Micro-Social Change (MiSoc) and Understanding Society at the Institute for Social and Economic Research, and currently involved in an Arts & Science collaboration around young people’s happiness

Today is an anniversary! I’ve been involved in “The Happiness Project” by the Roundhouse in London for three years today. Anniversaries are a time to celebrate and to reflect on how well things are going.

So here goes.

I was first contacted by a member of the Roundhouse’s performing arts team: they had read my paper “Life Satisfaction and Material Well-being of Young People in the UK” after it was mentioned in the Guardian, and wanted me to feed into a project inspired by the 2007 UNICEF happiness and wellbeing report on young people. They planned to “create a show made by young people for young people”, and did this sound like something that I would be interested in taking part in?

Continue reading