This study aims to replicate Przybylski and Weinstein (Psychol Sci 28(2):204–215, 2017), using a large population cohort to examine the validity of the proposed Goldilocks Hypothesis, which states that moderate digital media engagement may be beneficial and that both high and low usage may have a negative relationship with mental wellbeing.
Using the GUI98 cohort, we used separate weekday and weekend time-based categorical variables indicating time spent online, playing video games, watching TV/films as well as a frequency variable indicating multiscreening, and their associations with SDQ internalizing and externalizing symptoms using linear and quadratic regression parameters. We followed procedures for confounder adjustments outlined in Przybylski and Weinstein (Psychol Sci 28(2):204–215, 2017).
As hypothesized by the Goldilocks Hypothesis, time spent online watching TV/films at the weekend and multiscreening all had curvilinear relationships with internalizing and externalizing symptoms with significantly higher symptoms for no time as well as for higher exposures. internalizing and externalizing symptoms increased with time spent playing video games.
This brief report supports the Goldilocks Hypothesis, that suggests that moderate use of digital technology is not intrinsically harmful and may instead be beneficial, even necessary in a world becoming ever more increasingly reliant on digital media (Przybylski and Weinstein in Psychol Sci 28(2):204–215, 2017).