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EFFECT OF INCREASED SCREEN TIME IN UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC-A SURVEY-BASED STUDY

Authors:
  • Rajarajeswari Medical College and Hospital Dr.MGR Educational and Research Institute

Abstract and Figures

ARTICLE INFO ABSTRACT Objective: The objective of the study is to analyse the effects of increased screen time on undergraduates on various aspects like sleep, mental health, health and well-being of a person during lock-down for COVID-19 pandemic. Method: A questionnaire-based survey was conducted through google forms which included questions regarding screen time, mental health (depression, anxiety, mood swings), sleep pattern, time spent on academic activities, etc. Respondents included 440 undergraduate students aged between 18-24 years. Results: We analysed the data using test for proportions and were able to obtain significant results. Chi-square test was used to find associations between two variables. Cluster analysis was done to find significant clusters and the results are reported later along with the Dendrogram. Conclusion: There is a significant effect of increased screen time during the lockdown on undergraduates on aspects of mental health, sleep pattern, overall well-being and academic activities. There is a strong association between screen time and depression.
Content may be subject to copyright.
*Corresponding author: Dwajani S
Pharmacology / Senior Research Associate, Central Research Lab
ISSN: 0976-3031
Research Article
EFFECT OF INCREASED SCREEN TIME IN UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS DURING
COVID-19 PANDEMIC-A SURVEY-BASED STUDY
Dwajani S1, Lavanya Ravi2, Abhishek Ram S2 and Praveena A.S3
1Pharmacology / Senior Research Associate, Central Research Lab
2Rajarajeswari Medical College and Hospital, Kambipura, Mysore Road, Bangalore, Kamataka, India
3DoS in Statistics, University of Mysore, Manasagangotri, Mysore-570006
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24327/ijrsr.2020.1112.5659
ARTICLE INFO ABSTRACT
Objective: The objective of the study is to analyse the effects of increased screen time on
undergraduates on various aspects like sleep, mental health, health and well-being of a person during
lock-down for COVID-19 pandemic.
Method: A questionnaire-based survey was conducted through google forms which included
questions regarding screen time, mental health (depression, anxiety, mood swings), sleep pattern,
time spent on academic activities, etc. Respondents included 440 undergraduate students aged
between 18-24 years.
Results: We analysed the data using test for proportions and were able to obtain significant results.
Chi-square test was used to find associations between two variables. Cluster analysis was done to
find significant clusters and the results are reported later along with the Dendrogram.
Conclusion: There is a significant effect of increased screen time during the lockdown on
undergraduates on aspects of mental health, sleep pattern, overall well-being and academic
activities. There is a strong association between screen time and depression.
INTRODUCTION
Globally, COVID-19 pandemic has changed lives of people.
Buses, flights, schools, colleges, many social events, work and
other activities were put to halt. With no choice, people were
asked to stay at home. Schools and colleges were continued
online. In this situation, the students were made to stay home
for months together with minimal real social interactions. This
has led to growing concerns of physical and mental well-being
of students. With very little activities to do at home, most of us
have turned to devices such as TV, laptops and mostly our
mobile phones. It is important to realise how the screen time
has increased over a period of time in this pandemic. Social
isolation and increased screen time bring concerns about
depression. Depression is one of the most common mental
disorder and more than 264 million people of all ages were
affected¹. World Health Organization has projected that
depression will be leading cause of disease burden by the year
20302. Depression can lead to suicide. It is sad to know that
people lose lives by suicides more than homicides all around
the world3. Several individuals killing themselves in this
pandemic has sent shocking waves. In times as hard as this,
studies on mental health and well-being is very essential.
A study on Indian university students revealed that 37.7%,
13.1% and 2.4% of the students suffered from moderate, sever
and extremely severe depression respectively4. Depression and
anxiety are among the leading causes of burden of disease in
youth. Epidemiological data of U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services show that 5 to 9% of adolescents are clinically
depressed, while 21% to 50% report depressed mood (1999).
The use of electronic devices is a popular sedentary activity in
western society, particularly among youth. In Canada and the
U.S., youth spend an average of 7 to 8 hours per day engaging
in sedentary screen-based activities.5 Excessive screen time
(e.g., more than 2–3 hours exposure to electronic media
including television, computers, and mobile electronic devices)
can affect the developing brain which has important
consequences for cognitive, motor development, learning,
memory, emotional regulation and overall health. Learning and
memory may directly affect academic performance in children,
adolescents, and young adults due to excessive screen time. 6
Available Online at http://www.recentscientific.com
International Journal of
Recent Scientific
Research
International Journal of Recent Scientific Research
Vol. 11, Issue, 12 (B), pp. 40252-40258, December, 2020
Copyright © Dwajani S et al, 2020, this is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons
Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is
properly cited.
DOI: 10.24327/IJRSR
CODEN: IJRSFP (USA)
Article History:
Received 4th September, 2020
Received in revised form 25th
October, 2020
Accepted 23rd November, 2020
Published online 28th December, 2020
Key Words:
Screen time, mental health, depression,
lockdown.
International Journal of Recent Scientific Research Vol. 11, Issue, 12 (B), pp. 40252-40258, December, 2020
40253 | P a g e
In this lock-down, due to global COVID-19 pandemic, it has
become inevitable for all of us to shut our doors and stay
inside. We have been in our houses for more than two months.
This has had a deleterious effect on us in many ways. We
spend a significant amount of time on mobile phones,
television and laptops without realising the harm they are
causing. Hence, we aimed to study and analyse the effects of
increased screen-time in undergraduate students during Covid-
19 lockdown. Possible associations between longer hours of
screen time and depression/mood swings, pattern of screen
time usage, sleep patterns, time spent on academic activities are
studied.
METHODOLOGY
The data was collected in google forms using responses from
contacts through Whats App, Instagram, E-mail. The data was
collected using snowball sampling. We had a total sample size
of 440 undergraduate students between age group of 18 to 24
who pursue various programs including MBBS, engineering,
BSc etc. Students took part in the study from 15 March 2020 to
31 Mar 2020. Respondents who are 18 and above and willing
to participate in the study were enrolled. Consent was taken
through an electronic consent form.
The procedure involved an online questionnaire that included
several questions related to sleep pattern, screen time and
emotional behaviour, time spent on academic activities of
undergraduates during the lockdown and pre lockdown. This
online questionnaire was shared via social platforms to reach
several undergraduate students pursuing different programs.
The responses from this survey were analysed. It was a self-
designed questionnaire.
RESULTS
Total of 440 students participated in the study, among which
55.45% of the respondents were females and 44.54%
males.82.72% agreed that they were using phone way too much
during the lockdown.63.63% experienced hazardous effects of
phones (teary eyes, burning eyes, headache, blurred
vision).70% have felt depressed during the lockdown.
The data was studied using z-test for two proportions. A z-test
for two proportions is a hypothesis test that attempts to make a
claim about the population proportion P1 and P2. The null
hypothesis is a statement about the population parameter which
indicates no effect, and the alternative hypothesis is the
complementary hypothesis to the null hypothesis.7
We find that the null hypothesis P1=P2 is rejected at 1% level
of significance against the alternative hypothesis P1>P2 since
the p-value is less than 0.01, for the following pairs of
proportions (P1, P2).[Table1]
Table 1 Statistically significant results of proportion test
Sl.no P1 P2
1. Proportion of undergraduate
students going to bed after 12
am during the lockdown
(60.2%, n=265) [Graph 1]
Proportion of undergraduate
students going to bed after 12
am before the lockdown (33.6%,
n=148)
There is enough evidence that the population proportion of
undergraduate students going to bed after 12 am during the
lockdown is greater than the proportion of those going to bed before
the lockdown. This means that undergraduate students went to bed
later than usual during the lockdown
2. Proportion of undergraduate
students waking up after 8 am
during lockdown (63.4%,
n=279) [Graph 2]
Proportion of undergraduates
waking up after 8 am before
lockdown. (14%, n=62)
There is enough evidence that population proportion of
undergraduate students waking up after 8 am during lockdown is
greater than the proportion of those waking up at the same time
before lockdown. This means people woke up later than normal
because of lockdown
3. Proportion of undergraduate
students who have agreed that
their screen time has increased
during lockdown. (82.7%,
n=364) [Graph 3]
Proportion of undergraduate
students who have disagreed that
their screen time has increased
during lockdown. (3.1%, n=14)
There is enough evidence that the population proportion of
undergraduate students who have agreed that their screen time has
increased during lockdown is greater than the proportion of those
who disagreed
4. Proportion of undergraduate
students using screen for more
than 5 hours during lockdown.
(76.5%, n=337) [Graph 4]
Proportion of undergraduate
students using screen for more
than 5 hours before lockdown.
(20.6%, n=91)
There is enough evidence that population proportion of
undergraduate students using screen for more than 5 hours during
lockdown is greater than the proportion of those using screen for
more than 5 hours before lockdown. This means that undergraduate
students are using more screen during lockdown than earlier.
5. Proportion of undergraduate
students who studied for more
than 2 hours before the
lockdown. (82.7%, n=364)
Proportion of undergraduate
students who study for more
than more than 2 hour during the
lockdown. (69.5%, n=306)
There is enough evidence that the population proportion of
undergraduate students who studied for more than 2 hours before the
lockdown is greater than the proportion of those who study for more
than 2 hours during the lockdown.
6. Proportion of undergraduate
students using screened devices
for academic purposes more
than 2 hours during lockdown.
(38.1%, n=168)
Proportion of undergraduate
students using screened devices
for academic purposes for 2
hours before lockdown. (19.7%,
n=87)
There is enough evidence that the population proportion of
undergraduate students using screened devices for academic
purposes more than 2 hours during lockdown is greater than the
proportion of those using screened devices for more than 2 hours
before lockdown.
7. Proportion of undergraduate
students experiencing hazardous
effects of phones (headache,
burning eyes etc). (63.4, n=279)
Proportion of undergraduate
students who do not experience
hazardous effects of phones
(headache, burning eyes etc).
(36.5%, n=161)
There is enough evidence that the population proportion of
undergraduate students experiencing hazardous effects of phones
(headache, burning eyes etc) is greater than the proportion of those
who do not experience any.
8. Proportion of undergraduate
students feeling stressed as
compared to before lockdown.
(79.7%, n=351)
Proportion of undergraduate
students who do not feel stressed
as compared to before
lockdown. (20.2%, n=89)
There is enough evidence that the population proportion of
undergraduate students feeling stressed during the lockdown as
compared to before the lockdown is greater than the proportion of
those who did not feel stressed during the lockdown.
9. Proportion of undergraduate
students feeling anxious or
nervous as compared to before
lockdown. (62.9%, n=277)
Proportion of undergraduate
students who do not feel anxious
or nervous as compared to
before lockdown. (37%, n=163)
There is enough evidence that the population proportion of
undergraduate students felling anxious or nervous during the
lockdown as compared to before lockdown is greater than the
proportion of those who did not feel anxious or nervous during the
lockdown.
10. Proportion of undergraduate
students who lose ‘track of time’
by using screened devices.
(81.1%, n=357)
Proportion of undergraduate
students who do not lose ‘track
of time’ by using screened
devices. (18.8%, n=83)
There is enough evidence that the population proportion of
undergraduate students who lost ‘track of time’ by using screened
Dwajani S et al., Effect of Increased Screen Time In Undergraduate Students During Covid-19 Pandemic-A Survey-Based Study
40254 | P a g e
devices is greater than the proportion of those who do not lose track
of time.
11. Proportion of undergraduate
students feelling depressed as
compared to before lockdown.
(69.7, n=307)
Proportion of undergraduate
students who do not feel
depressed as compared to before
lockdown. (30.2%, n=133)
There is enough evidence that the population proportion of
undergraduate students feeling depressed during the lockdown, as
compared to before lockdown is greater than the proportion of those
who do not feel depressed during the lockdown.
12. Proportion of undergraduate
students who have experienced
mood swings during lockdown.
(72.9%, n=321)
Proportion of undergraduate
students who do not experience
mood swings during lockdown.
(27%, n=119)
There is enough evidence that the population proportion of
undergraduate students who have experienced mood swings during
lockdown is greater than the proportion of those who did not
experience mood swings during lockdown.
A chi-square test was performed using chi-square calculator8,
to examine the association between the attributes A and B and
the following table gives the significant results. Chi-square test
for independence is a test used for categorical attributes in
order to assess the degree of association between the two
attributes9. Null hypothesis is that the two attributes are
independent[ Table 2].
Table 2 Results of Chi-square test showing association
between attributes A and B
A B
Chi-square
with Yates
correction
p-value
Using screen time
for at least 5
hours during the
lockdown.
Feeling depressed at least
once in a week during the
lockdown
11.3137 0.000769
Using screen time
for at least 5
hours during the
lockdown
Feeling stressed at least
once during the lockdown 4.6166 0.031664
Using screen time
for at least 5
hours during the
lockdown
Experiencing hazardous
effect of screen time such
as eye pain, teary eyes,
headache, blurry eyes.
11.8389 0.00058
R version 3.6.3 was used to perform cluster analysis. Since
variables are measured on different scales, data is standardized
using medians. Cluster analysis is performed for all 440
individuals and results are given. Ward’s minimum-variance
hierarchical clustering method was performed using an
agglomerative (bottom-up) approach and a dendrogram was
generated (Fig 1). The dendrogram generated was used to
estimate the number of likely clusters within the studied
population and six distinct clusters were identified of size 86,
62, 51, 56, 77 and 108 respectively. Once clusters were formed,
there was no inter-cluster switching. This estimate was pre
specified in k-means cluster analysis that was used as the
principal clustering technique. K-means clustering method was
used by taking the centroids as seeds of the clusters obtained.
To compare the differences between clusters, analysis of
variance using one-way ANOVA is used wherever normality
assumption is satisfied and Kruskal-Wallis test for other
continuous variables and chi-square test for categorical
variables is used. The results are all statistically significant as
the p-values are less than 0.001.[Table 3]
Clusters differ significantly with respect to all variables except
age.
Cluster 1 (size = 86) is the second largest cluster. Highest
percentage of students use phone and other screened devices
too much during the lockdown. Highest percentage of students
who belong to this cluster observed mood swings during the
lockdown almost everyday. They felt anxious/nervous during
the lockdown.
Cluster 2 (size = 62). Most of the students belonging to this
cluster use less phone and other screened devices during the
lockdown, some of them even use the screened devices less
than an hour a day during the lockdown.
Cluster 3 (size = 51) is the smallest cluster among the six
clusters. Highest number of students use phones and other
screened devices more than 9 hours a day during the lockdown
and more than 6 hours a day before lockdown. Most of the
students of this cluster use the screened devices for academic
purposes more than six hours a day before the lockdown as
well as during the lockdown.
Cluster 4 (size = 56). Students who belong to this cluster go to
sleep only after 12 am. Highest percentage of students sleep
after 5 am during the lockdown and between 2 am to 3 am
before lockdown, also they wake up late as compared to other
clusters. Highest percentage of students use screened devices
after they go to bed, before they fall asleep.
Cluster 5 (size = 77). Students who belong to this cluster go to
sleep early as compared to other clusters, during the lockdown
as well as before lockdown, also they wake up early in the
morning, during the lockdown. Only a few students who
belong to this cluster use screened devices less than one hour a
day during the lockdown. Highest number of students never use
screened devices after going to bed, before they fall asleep.
Highest number of students belonging to this cluster never
observed mood swings, never felt sad/depressed, never lost
track of time by using the screened devices, never felt
anxious/nervous and never felt stressed.
Cluster 6 (size = 108) is the largest cluster among the six
clusters. Highest percentage of students who belong to this
cluster used to wake up early in the morning before lockdown.
Most of them woke up between 6am to 8am during and before
the lockdown. None of them used screened devices more than
six hours a day before lockdown.
Fig 1 Dendrogram for Ward’s minimum-variance hierarchical clustering
method
International Journal of Recent Scientific Research Vol. 11, Issue, 12 (B), pp. 40252-40258, December, 2020
40255 | P a g e
Table 3 Analysis of variance (Kruskal-Wallis test) and Chi-square analysis between clusters
Questionnaire Options provided
for eah question
Cluster 1
Cluster 2 Cluster 3 Cluster 4 Cluster 5
Cluster 6 p-value
Total students in each cluster [n] 86 62 51 56 77 108 --
Mean age 20.28 20.18 20.53 19.61 20.31 20.6 0.035
DURING THIS LOCKDOWN, what time do you
usually go to sleep?
Before 9 pm
9 pm-10 pm
10 pm-11pm
11pm-12am
12am-1am
1am-2am
2am-3am
3am-4am
4am-5am
After 5 am
0
0
2.33
1.16
16.28
38.37
32.56
6.98
1.16
1.16
0
1.61
12.9
27.42
29.04
19.35
9.68
0
0
0
0
0
7.84
19.61
27.45
17.65
15.69
5.88
3.92
1.96
0
0
0
0
5.36
26.79
28.57
17.86
7.14
14.29
1.30
10.39
25.97
32.47
27.27
2.6
0
0
0
0
0
5.56
25.0
41.67
25.93
1.85
0
0
0
0
<0.001
*BEFORE* THIS LOCKDOWN, what time would you
usually go to sleep?
Before 9pm
9pm -10pm
10 pm-11pm
11pm-12am
12am-1am
1am-2am
2am-3am
0
0
18.6
33.72
33.72
9.30
4.65
0
1.61
33.87
24.19
29.03
11.29
0
0
3.92
23.53
39.22
27.45
3.92
1.96
0
0
1.79
25.0
30.36
25.0
17.86
1.30
18.18
29.87
32.47
11.69
6.49
0
0
8.33
45.37
37.04
9.26
0
0
<0.001
DURING THIS LOCKDOWN, what time do you usually
wake up?
4am-6am
6am-8am
8am-10am
10am-12pm
After 12pm
1.16
6.98
51.16
31.4
9.3
3.23
43.55
46.77
6.45
0
3.92
19.61
54.9
19.61
1.96
0
10.71
39.29
35.71
14.29
15.58
42.86
38.96
2.6
0
4.63
52.78
35.19
7.41
0
<0.001
*BEFORE* THIS LOCKDOWN, what time would you
usually wake up?
4am-6am
6am-8am
8am-10am
10am-12pm
After 12pm
9.3
72.09
15.12
2.33
1.16
14.52
72.58
12.9
0
0
11.76
72.55
15.69
0
0
8.93
62.5
23.21
5.36
0
16.88
72.73
10.39
0
0
17.59
76.85
4.63
0.93
0
<0.001
Do you think you are using phone and other screened
devices way too much DURING THIS LOCKDOWN?
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
0
0
2.33
31.4
66.28
3.23
3.23
24.19
54.84
14.52
1.96
3.92
9.8
35.29
49.02
1.79
3.57
21.43
33.93
39.29
0
5.19
23.38
51.95
19.48
0
0
9.26
55.56
35.19
How long do you think, you are using your phone and
other screened devices DURING THIS LOCKDOWN?
< 1 hour a day
1-2 hours
3-4 hours
5-6 hours
7-8 hours
9-10 hours
0
2.33
4.65
25.58
44.19
23.26
1.61
3.23
37.10
16.13
38.71
3.23
0
3.92
5.88
19.61
29.41
41.18
0
0
7.14
26.79
41.07
25.0
0
3.90
33.77
44.16
11.69
6.49
0
5.56
25.0
36.11
21.3
12.04
<0.001
On any typical day, how long do you think you used your
phone and other screened
devices *BEFORE* THIS
LOCKDOWN?
< 1 hour a day
1 to 2 hours
3 to 4 hours
5 to 6 hours
>6 hours
0
29.07
51.16
17.44
2.33
3.23
43.55
40.32
8.06
4.84
5.88
17.65
43.14
9.8
23.53
0
16.07
44.64
26.79
12.5
9.09
31.17
42.86
12.99
3.90
4.63
46.3
36.11
12.96
0
<0.001
Do you use your phone in the night after you go to bed?
If yes, how long do you use your phone and other
screened devices in the bed before you fall asleep?
Never
< 1 hour
1 to 2 hours
3 to 4 hours
5 to 6 hours
>6 hours
1.16
15.12
51.16
25.58
4.65
2.33
24.19
40.32
33.87
1.61
0
0
15.69
23.53
39.22
17.65
1.96
1.96
3.57
10.71
48.21
26.79
3.57
7.14
27.27
42.86
29.87
0
0
0
16.67
41.67
38.89
1.85
0.93
0
<0.001
How long do you think you spend time on studying and
doing other academic activities
(Assignments,
Presentations, etc) / work and related activities DURING
THIS LOCKDOWN?
15 minutes
< 1 hour
1 to 2 hours
2 to 3 hours
3 to 4 hours
4 to 5 hours
5 to 6 hours
>6 hours
I am doing an
internship
6 am to 9 pm
0
45.35
1.16
50.0
1.16
2.33
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
46.77
30.65
20.97
0
1.61
0
0
0
5.88
1.96
37.25
29.41
23.53
1.96
0
0
33.93
1.79
57.14
0
7.14
0
0
0
0
0
38.96
1.3
59.74
0
0
0
0
0
0
0.93
37.04
0
58.33
0
3.7
0
0
0
0
<0.001
How long do you think you spent time on studying and
doing other academic activities (Assignments,
Presentations, etc) / work and related activities BEFORE
THIS LOCKDOWN?
Not a student
<1 hour a day
2 to 3 hours
3 to 4 hours
5 to 6 hours
>6 hours
0
19.77
31.4
30.23
11.63
6.98
0
6.45
20.97
25.81
27.42
19.35
0
7.84
11.76
25.49
27.45
27.45
0
23.21
35.71
30.36
8.93
1.79
0
27.27
32.47
32.47
7.79
0
0.93
14.81
37.04
34.26
6.48
6.48
<0.001
Dwajani S et al., Effect of Increased Screen Time In Undergraduate Students During Covid-19 Pandemic-A Survey-Based Study
40256 | P a g e
How long do you think you are using your phone and
other devices for your college or work or study related
activities DURING THIS LOCKDOWN?
<1 hour a day
1 to 2 hours
3 to 4 hours
5 to 6 hours
>6 hours
25.58
43.02
20.93
8.14
2.33
11.29
17.74
45.16
20.97
4.84
1.96
11.76
21.57
27.45
37.25
16.07
42.86
28.57
5.36
7.14
22.08
46.75
24.68
3.9
2.6
11.11
52.78
25.93
7.41
2.78
<0.001
How long do you think you used phone and other
screened devices for college or work or study related
activities *BEFORE* THIS LOCKDOWN?
<1 hour a day
1 to 2 hours
3 to 4 hours
5 to 6 hours
>6 hours
40.7
37.21
18.6
3.49
0
35.48
46.77
12.9
4.84
0
15.69
35.29
15.69
13.73
19.61
46.43
37.5
8.93
3.57
3.57
50.65
36.36
9.09
3.9
0
58.33
29.63
8.33
3.7
0
<0.001
Have you been feeling stressed out or strained easily (as
compared to before the LOCKDOWN)?
Never
Less than once a week
Few times a week
Almost everyday
1.16
4.65
46.51
47.67
38.71
35.48
25.81
0
3.92
9.8
58.82
27.45
37.5
41.07
17.86
3.57
48.05
38.96
12.99
0
3.7
25.0
50.0
21.3
<0.001
Have you been feeling anxious / nervous lately ?(as
compared to before LOCKDOWN )
Never
Less than once a week
Few times a week
Almost everyday
4.65
17.44
50.0
27.91
51.61
27.42
17.74
3.23
9.8
25.49
45.1
19.61
67.86
17.86
14.29
0
87.01
11.69
1.3
0
15.74
28.7
45.37
10.19
<0.001
Have you ever " lost sense / track of time” by using
phone and screened devices (by binge watching and other
activities)?
Never
Few times
Many times
Yes, all the time
4.65
22.09
37.21
36.05
32.26
46.77
17.74
3.23
5.88
49.02
15.69
29.41
30.36
37.5
23.21
8.93
44.16
48.05
7.79
0
4.63
39.81
41.67
13.89
<0.001
Do u feel sad or depressed often (as compared to before
the LOCKDOWN)?
Never
Less than once a week
Sometimes a week
Almost everyday
0
15.12
45.35
39.53
0
56.45
25.81
12.9
4.84
0
5.88
19.61
60.78
13.73
0
55.36
25.0
19.64
0
0
75.32
18.18
6.49
0
0
5.56
27.78
50.93
15.74
0
<0.001
Have you observed mood swings in yourself during
LOCKDOWN (change in emotions between extremes of
sadness and happiness)?
Never
Less than once a week
Sometimes a week
Almost everyday
2.33
9.3
45.35
43.02
59.68
24.19
16.13
0
11.76
9.8
54.9
23.53
51.79
30.36
16.07
1.79
54.55
35.97
16.88
2.6
2.78
20.37
52.78
24.07
<0.001
Have you been feeling irritated or annoyed quite often (as
compared to before lockdown)?
Never
Less than once a week
Few times a week
Sometimes a week
0
5.81
48.84
45.35
41.94
35.48
22.58
0
1.96
19.61
58.82
19.61
42.86
33.93
23.21
0
41.56
33.77
20.78
3.90
0.93
12.96
69.44
16.67
<0.001
Graph 1 Sleep timings of undergraduates before and during the lockdown
Graph 2 Time at which undergraduates wake up during and before
lockdown.
0
20
40
60
80
100
120
140
160
GOING TO SLEEP
BEFORE THIS
LOCKDOWN
GOING TO SLEEP
DURING THIS
LOCKDOWN
0
50
100
150
200
250
300
350
WAKING UP TIME
BEFORE THIS
LOCKDOWN
WAKING UP
DURING THIS
LOCKDOWN
Graph 3 Opinion of undergraduates on using phone and screened devices
Graph 4 Number of undergraduates using phone and other screened
devices for more than 5 hours
0
50
100
150
200
250
Strongly
agree
Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly
Disagree
Do you think you are using phone and other
screened devices way too much during this
lockdown?
0
20
40
60
80
100
120
140
160
180
200
screen time during
lockdown
screen time before
lockdown
International Journal of Recent Scientific Research Vol. 11, Issue, 12 (B), pp. 40252-40258, December, 2020
40257 | P a g e
DISCUSSION
In a study conducted by Jayanti P Acharya et al.11, the aim was
to study the detrimental health effects of mobile phones on
college going students. The most common symptom was
headache followed by irritability.47.4% students responded to
have experienced lack of concentration. 38.5% said that they
got anxious while using their mobile phones.19.3% of students
mentioned that continuous use of cell phone over a period of
time resulted in some degree of difficulty in hearing.13.8%
complained to have pain in the thumb finger due to the over use
of mobile phone. In our study, it was established that 59%
undergraduates were irritated or annoyed quite often during the
lockdown. Furthermore, 81.1% undergraduates have responded
to have lost track of time by using screened devices. In our
study we have considered several early signs and symptoms of
depression, anxiety and also, we have studied the sleep wake
routine of individuals in this pandemic. While the above study
conducted by Jayanti P Acharya et al., was conducted before
the pandemic on any usual day, our study considers the effect
of increased screen time during the lockdown when the
students are always home. Both were questionnaire-based
studies.
In a study conducted by Charles Chukwuemeka Okika and
Agboola Bukola Blessing12, the objective was to study the
impact of screen time among university students and their
awareness and adoption of screen time usage according to the
guidelines.90% of the students were found to use their mobile
phones between 4-16 hours daily. Four out of five students had
significant mental and physical distress, panic, confusion and
extreme isolation when forced to unplug from any of the screen
devices for an entire day. 74 % of the students were found to
stay up late in the night or eat while doing their screen
activities. 78% of the students had admitted to have suffered
stiffness of the neck or painful and tingling sensation of their
wrists and fingers directly related to their usage screen devices.
In our study, 76.5% undergraduates were found to use screened
devices for 5-10 hours. 63.4% of undergraduates have
responded that they experience some form of physical distress
like headache, burning eyes, watery eyes, pain in the eye.54.7%
were found to use phone and other screened devices for 1-6
hours just before sleeping at night. This can be taken as a major
parameter for the delayed sleep of the undergraduates. We also
found that 69.7% of the students were depressed at least once a
week during the lockdown.
In a study conducted by Danijela Maras et al.13, the study
aimed to establish an association between screen time and
depression and anxiety among the Canadian youth. This study
examined how sedentary screen-based activities may relate to
symptoms of depression and anxiety in youth. The data
suggested that duration of sedentary screen time was associated
with more severe symptoms of depression and anxiety in a
large population of Canadian adolescents. This suggested that
screen time may be an important risk factor of psychiatric
disorders among the youth. Hence the study also suggested that
the physicians should be aware of the screen time of those
youths who come to them for treatment of depression. While
this study mainly focuses on screen time and depression, our
study considers several other effects of screen time on sleep
wake cycle, time spent on studies and other useful activities by
comparing before and during the pandemic. In addition, we
have used proportion test and have proven how several
important effects are true for the whole population. Chi square
and cluster analysis have helped strengthen our study.
The results of our study have concluded that there is a strong
association between screen time and depression. This result is
in line with the results of a study conducted by Elroy Boers
et.al14, which establishes that a one-hour increase in social
media use was associated with increase in the severity of
depression symptoms over 4 years on a 0.64-unit scale(from 0
to 28). Though this study was conducted over four years on
adolescents, our study aims at analysing the mental health of
undergraduates during the lockdown period as this is the time
when they are more prone for long screen time.
In a study conducted by Nicola Cellini et.al15, the aim was to
study the effect of lockdown on young adults aged 18-35. It
was found that one fourth (24.2%) of the entire sample reported
moderate to extremely severe symptoms of depression, 32.6%
of the sample reported moderate to extremely severe symptoms
of anxiety, and 50.12% of the sample reported moderate to
extremely severe symptoms of stress. The study also
established that on average, bedtime was delayed by ~41 min
in both workers and students. The restrictions had an even
stronger effect on wake time, in particular in workers, who
started to wake up about 1 hr and 13 min later than usual,
whereas students delayed their wake time by ~45 min. These
results were similar to the results of our study which
established that the sleep wake pattern of the undergraduates
was disturbed (sleeping late and waking up later than usual).
Our study also considers the amount of time spent on screened
devices for college activities. While this study takes into
account ages 18-35, our study is more confined to the
undergraduates who find it very difficult to cope up with stress
and depression.
CONCLUSION
Increased screen time has markedly affected the sleep pattern,
mental health, productivity, overall health and well-being of
undergraduates during this lockdown. Increased screen time
has a direct correlation with depression and stress. Moreover,
effects such as teary eyes, headache, blurring of vision is also
attributed to increased usage of screened devices. Hence, this
study emphasises the need to restrict screen time and brings to
lime light the hazardous effect it has brought on undergraduates
during the lockdown.
Acknowledgement
We, the authors, acknowledge Dr. S.Ravi, Professor,
Department of Studies in Statistics, University of Mysore,
Manasagangotri, Mysore for contributing to this manuscript
with his valuable suggestions. We also thank all the students
who willingly participated in the study.
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How to cite this article:
Dwajani S et al.2020 Effect of Increased Screen Time In Undergraduate Students During Covid-19 Pandemic-A Survey-
Based
Study. Int J Recent Sci Res. 11(12), pp.40252-40258. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24327/ijrsr.2020.1112.5659
*******
... The online learning increased stress level among students as they cannot follow the interaction and experiences such as practical labs or artistic performance. Some students may have difficulties with assessed to computer and internet at home [27,28]. ...
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Escapism by digital media: Assessing screen time impact, usage guidelines/recommendations awareness and adoption among undergraduate students in Enugu state
  • Okika Charles Chukwuemeka
Charles Chukwuemeka Okika, Agboola Bukola Blessing. Escapism by digital media: Assessing screen time impact, usage guidelines/recommendations awareness and adoption among undergraduate students in Enugu state, South-east Nigeria. International Journal of Advanced Multidisciplinary Research Reports. 2017;2(1).