Dr Sarah Rose (Lecturer in Developmental Psychology & Director of the Staffordshire Children’s Lab) blogs about a recent debate in the media regarding the effects of screen time on children’s development and wellbeing:
A letter published in the Guardian on Christmas day claimed that ‘Screen-based lifestyle harms children’s health’. This was signed by a group of forty writers, psychologists and charity heads who argued that national guidelines on screen based technology are required.
The claims for the links between and increasing screen-based lifestyle and children’s wellbeing are not supported by the evidence. I am delighted to have been able to add my support to this response from a group of academics and expert practitioners published by the Guardian last week. In this we argue that screen time guidelines need to be built on evidence, not hype or scaremongering.
Of course the wellbeing of children is important and the impact of screen-based lifestyle requires investigation but currently there is insufficient research evidence on which to base National Guidelines. Rather than focusing on quantity alone, evidence is needed regarding context of use (where, when and how digital media are accessed), content (what is being watched or used), and connections (whether and how relationships are facilitated or impeded).
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