How phones get in the way of relationships

ABC News' Diane Sawyer shares the findings of a six-month investigation into the impact of screen time, including how even pets are affected.
3:38 | 05/03/19

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Transcript for How phones get in the way of relationships
Chris, thank you so much. To you to "Gma's" first look at the way our phones and tablets are affecting our lives. A new special "Screentime: Diane sawyer reporting -- Is that your phone. Speaking of screen time. How that can affect your family and even your pets. I can feel serious anxiety right now. Here's Diane. Reporter: Psychology professor Jennifer mills asked them to do what they do every day. Take a picture of themselves and post it to social media. These students don't know what the professor's experiment will really be testing. They tell us it's easy for half an hour to go by as you work on one photo so now they have posted their photos nervously awaiting the reaction of their friends hoping it will make them feel good about themselves which brings us to what Dr. Jennifer mills was trying to learn. I'm going to give you a series of questions about yourself. Reporter: Before the selfie she had tested the students for anxiety, body image, depression then even after some of them retouched their photos before posting for nearly all of them the anxiety even worse than when they came in the room. More negative. More dissatisfied with your appearance, less confident. You felt more anxious after posting it. Reporter: Professor mills worries that selfies, retouching can be a kind of quicksand. That drives people to want to keep fixing and checking. It fills your time up and that's all I've ever known since I was 7. Reporter: But humans aren't the only ones feeling the impact of our screens. In our reporting, so many people told us that there are other friends in their lives affected by technology too. We live in a world in which cockatiels sing a song of cell phones. Afar rot knows how to rouse a new pal. Alexa, all lights on. Okay. Reporter: This chimpanzee has mastered Instagram. But the experts say there is one animal in the kingdom who seems to be saddened by our screens. Your dog who signals if your eyes are looking down you may not be his best friend. What? Put it up again. Reporter: And Michele would like a little understanding for her life. Every time she reaches for her phone, Marley begins to moan. He does it upside down. He does it right side up. It's so bad she's had to become a phone refugee inside her own home. If I really need to answer a text, I will go out in the hallway, I'll go into my bathroom. Downstafrs. Reporter: So with all this technology in our live, remember, your dog wants to look at your face. Ah. You know, diaary her team worked six months on this. Watch the whole special "Screentime" Diane sawyer reporting" tonight. What we've seen so far, pretty amazing.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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