Description: We have looked at the issue of screen time and its potential effects on development before on this site. There is no doubt that children and adolescents (not to mention adults) are spending a lot more time with screens than even just 10 years ago. What has made the research into this question hard to sort out is that it typically focuses on screen time in general. While it is true that people are spending more time with screens, they are also doing more (different) things with more screens than before. So, maybe a better, more nuanced question might be; How much or what sorts of things that make up screen time have what sorts of effects on people’s functioning and well-being? Oh, and might some screen time be good for you? Think about what research addressing these more nuanced questions might suggest and then have a read through the article linked below to see what some studies are starting to suggest about screen time.
Source: New Research: How Much Screen Time IS Bad for Kids? Jamie Madigan, Games, Forbes
Date: December 20, 2019
Article Link: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamiemadigan/2019/08/05/new-research-how-much-screen-time-is-bad-for-kids/#52fb64ea4d30
There is NO doubt that the amount of time children and adolescents are spending with screens has more than doubled in just the past 10 years and that much more of anything would certainly draw some scrutiny and concern and would certainly by looked at as a possible cause for all kinds of parental and societal concerns. But we are all (well most of us are) using digital devices and screen related functionality more in ever increasingly broad aspects of our lives. So, perhaps we need to look a bit more closely at the question of screen time. Does the Goldilocks Hypothesis makes sense? By staring with the idea than not enough may be as bad as too much could help us to define how much of what sorts of screen time activities or engagement for who is “just right”? Addressing the questions of screen time this way can suggest (with data) what the tipping or inflection points are for many screen time activities and can show us how different those inflection points might be (e.g., over 4 hours of general computer time and under 32 hours of either game play or smart phone use). The effects size research is critical as well, if we are to understand something of the impacts of screen time. The author’s closing recommendations are worth repeating, use a diversity of screens but get enough sleep and have breakfast!
Questions for Discussion:
- Why is asking how a lot of screen time is bad for development and well-being a less than useful research question?
- What is the Goldilocks Hypothesis and why it is important in figuring out the effects of screen time?
- How should the emerging field of screen time research be defining and researching screen time effects? How might this research domain be expanded and what should such an expansion consider including?
References (Read Further):
Children and parents: media use and attitudes report 2015 https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0024/78513/childrens_parents_nov2015.pdf
Przybylski, A. K., & Weinstein, N. (2017). A large-scale test of the Goldilocks Hypothesis: Quantifying the relations between digital-screen use and the mental well-being of adolescents. Psychological Science, 28(2), 204-215. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0956797616678438
Orben, A., & Przybylski, A. K. (2019). Screens, teens, and psychological well-being: evidence from three time-use-diary studies. Psychological science, 30(5), 682-696. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0956797619830329
Hale, L., & Guan, S. (2015). Screen time and sleep among school-aged children and adolescents: a systematic literature review. Sleep medicine reviews, 21, 50-58. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4437561/
Bucksch, J., Sigmundova, D., Hamrik, Z., Troped, P. J., Melkevik, O., Ahluwalia, N., … & Inchley, J. (2016). International trends in adolescent screen-time behaviors from 2002 to 2010. Journal of Adolescent Health, 58(4), 417-425. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Alberto_Borraccino/publication/292141301_International_Trends_in_Adolescent_Screen-Time_Behaviors_From_2002_to_2010/links/5a17eb554585155c26a7a112/International-Trends-in-Adolescent-Screen-Time-Behaviors-From-2002-to-2010.pdf
Blum-Ross, A., & Livingstone, S. (2016). Families and screen time: Current advice and emerging research. http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/66927/1/Policy%20Brief%2017-%20Families%20%20Screen%20Time.pdf
LeBlanc, A. G., Katzmarzyk, P. T., Barreira, T. V., Broyles, S. T., Chaput, J. P., Church, T. S., … & Kurpad, A. (2015). Correlates of total sedentary time and screen time in 9–11 year-old children around the world: the international study of childhood obesity, lifestyle and the environment. PloS one, 10(6), e0129622. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0129622