Screen Time Clinic

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Screen Time Articles & Research
Links to Relevant & Unbiased Reports about Screen Time Around the World

Some Guidance With Screen-Related Research/News

The following are links to eye-opening research articles, books, and studies about digital media and youth brain development. The specific harms digital media causes can be overviewed in this document by the top USA watchdog organization Fairplay as well as found in our Family Media Guide. Many parents are rightfully confused about the harms because “Big Tech” publishes many articles (and their own research studies) that downplay the correlation and harms, just as the tobacco companies denied wrongdoing about their harmful and addictive products decades ago.  When it comes to children and best practices for “doing no harm” the term “may be related” is definite cause for parental concern, most research studies and published articles can not make conclusive claims (“this definitely causes”) without repercussions from Big Tech (Meta, TikTok, Snap, Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, Tencent, Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts, Epic Games, Take-Two Interactive Software) since they fund many organizations that seek to downplay the harms they are causing to minors (CommonSenseMedia, APA, AAP, Boston Children’s Digital Wellness Lab, Harvard Publishing, etc) and promote their own safety features and their own studies that blame parents and genetics, not their platforms. Don’t be fooled by Big Tech rhetoric and take steps to protect your children! The only way to see how digital media is impacting your child is to undertake a 3+ week detox similar to that outlined in Dr. Dunkley’s book but long term effects are not something you should gamble on with your own children and rely on studies below to support reducing screen time now for those already using and delay access when young to protect from greater harms in the future

Early Years Gaming and Baby/Toddler Screen Viewing Linked to OCD, Speech & Developmental Delays, Detrimental Cognitive Functions, other Long Lasting Preventable Ailments in Children

Canadian Study November 2023 about ADHD and screen time shows significant environmental CAUSE factor (that can be mitigated) and also leads children to greater addiction risk which can also be prevented with extra cautious limits depending on age/severity.

Jama Study 8/21/23  cohort study including 7097 mother-child pairs, confirms a close association between greater screen time at age 1 year and developmental delays in communication and problem-solving at ages 2 and 4 years

Jama Study 12/11/22 shows each additional daily hour of playing video games or even watching videos under 6 years old increased the risk of developing obsessive compulsive disorder a few years later. Read about it here and here and UK news here and here on NBC.

This study shows the disruption of neurological connections between child & parents when phones are in viewing sight https://earlylearningnation.com/2022/11/first-ever-study-provides-high-tech-window-on-mother-child-brain-synchrony

2023 A longitudinal cohort study in Singapore has confirmed that excessive screen time during infancy is linked to detrimental outcomes in cognitive functions, which continue to be apparent after eight years of age. https://neurosciencenews.com/screen-time-brain-maturity-22410/

Screen Time Tied to Cognition, Behavior in Children Born Preterm: High amounts of screen time contribute to adverse cognitive, executive function, and behavior outcomes at ages 6 to 7 years in extremely preterm (EPT) children, according to a study published online July 12 in JAMA Pediatrics.https://www.physiciansweekly.com/screen-time-tied-to-cognition-behavior-in-children-born-preterm?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=a710054d-d9ce-4f16-a61d-22b82abb57d1

Speech delay study 3/2023Conclusion: Screen time more than two hours daily increase the risk of speech delay 6.2 times in children aged 1-2- year old. Male and low parental education also acted as risk factors for speech

Social emotional development was negatively affected as digital game addiction increased in children as young as preschool. Digital game addiction level is associated with parents’ digital game guidance strategies. Active parenting guidance strategy prevents children’s digital game addiction, while digital and free parenting strategies increase addiction.

JAMA Pediatrics: “Associations Between Screen-Based Media Use and Brain White Matter Integrity in Preschool-Aged Children”

New study finds that too much screen time can alter children’s brains

The fear of screen dependence getting out of control is echoed across America

Most kids under 5 are getting too much screen time, study finds

W.H.O. Says Limited or No Screen Time for Children Under 5

Harvard Medical School: “Screen Time and the Brain: Digital devices can interfere with everything from sleep to creativity”

Psychology Today: “What Screen Time Can Really Do to Kids’ Brains: Too much at the worst possible age can have lifetime consequences.”

Dr. Anna Lembke: “The smartphone has become the modern-day hypodermic needle

Just How Bad Is Kids’ Smartphone Addiction?

“Is viewing the same as doing? What parents need to know about how screen time is affecting the growing brains of their children

Extensive Research cited by Dr. Kardaras, author of Glow Kids and digital addiction expert

http://www.drkardaras.com/research.html

Extensive Research Cited by Dr. Victoria Dunkley, author of Reset Your Child’s Brain and expert on screen time and blue light since 2012 

https://drdunckley.com/reset-your-childs-brain/

Digital Addictions Are Drowning Us in Dopamine 8/2021

Great article for teenagers and gaming skeptics. Rising rates of depression and anxiety in wealthy countries like the U.S. may be a result of our brains getting hooked on the neurotransmitter associated with pleasure.  https://www.wsj.com/articles/digital-addictions-are-drowning-us-in-dopamine-11628861572

 High schools with digital detox education programs decrease digital media addictions significantly.
 

Digital Addictions- Must Limit Time

NPR 2023 Major Analysis of Social Media and Mental Health Crisis

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2023/04/25/1171773181/social-media-teens-mental-health 

Higher Digital Addictions with Supportive Parents 2/2023

While being a supportive parent is associated with slightly lower overall addiction risks than those with abusive relationships, it does not prevent children from suffering from digital addictions because supportive parents rarely control time and access to devices.  This debunks Big Tech and TikTok’s advice to parents that being a “good parent” and co-using apps is the best way to prevent harm — because it’s not. https://www.sydney.edu.au/news-opinion/news/2023/01/23/parental-support-linked-to-teen-internet-addiction.html

PEW Research Center: “2/3 of parents in the US say parenting harder today…social media smartphones as a reason”

Extensive Research cited by Dr. Kardaras, author of Glow Kids and digital addiction expert

http://www.drkardaras.com/research.html

Digital Addictions Are Drowning Us in Dopamine 8/2021

Great article for teenagers and gaming skeptics. Rising rates of depression and anxiety in wealthy countries like the U.S. may be a result of our brains getting hooked on the neurotransmitter associated with pleasure.  https://www.wsj.com/articles/digital-addictions-are-drowning-us-in-dopamine-11628861572

 

Beware of Crypto Spending (Robux) and Online Gambling in Games

Spending money in games and apps doesn’t teach us how to spend wisely or save money, it encourages compulsive spending that leads to gambling problems. It’s even more dangerous to start young. Read this article Experts warn of mounting internet gambling addiction among youth and others that explain why behavioral addictions are just as serious as substance addictions. Social media scams aboud in young shoppers, The Federal Trade Commission said online shopping is the most common type of fraud, and scams often start on social media. Reported losses from social-media fraud reached more than $1.2 billion last year, up from $42 million in 2017. For adults ages 18 to 29, social media is by far the biggest starting point for fraud: Nearly 40% of the fraud loss reported by this age group in 2021 originated on a social-media site, said the FTC.

CyberBullying Statistics

Cyberbullying Frequency (2022, Pew Research Center) US Teens aged 13-17 reported: 

• 46% experienced cyberbullying, with offensive name calling being the most common type of harassment 

• 22% had false rumors spread about them 

 17% received explicit images they didn’t ask for 

• 15% report being constantly asked where they are; what they are doing or who they are with by someone other than a parent 

• 10% reported receiving physical threats 

• 7% reported having explicit images of them shared without their consent 

Cyberbullying Impact (2018, Cyberbullying Research Center) Cyberbullying is more devastating than traditional bullying because: 

• The victim may not know who is bullying them due to anonymity. • Hurtful actions go viral which increases the audience and aggressors to limitless. 

• It is easier to be cruel on-line as no social cues exist, no apologies needed 

Cyberbullying and Suicidal Ideations (2022, JAMA Network Open Study) 

• Cyberbullying was the #1 cause of suicidal ideations in adolescents aged 10-13 years old based on a study of 10,414 United States adolescents. Cyberbullying Reporting: Reasons teens don’t report cyberbullying (2021)7 : 

• Fear of losing their access to their technology 

• They don’t want to be seen as snitch and lose social status 

• Ashamed for being a target or having problems

Parent Concerns (2023, Pew Research) 

• 35% of parents are worried that their kids may be bullied (2nd to Anxiety and Depression)4

Parent Survivor Advocates and Kristin Bride Senate Hearing Testimony 7/14/2023

 Relevant Citations/References: 1 Ian Martin, Hugely Popular NGL App Offers Teenagers Anonymity In Comments About Each other (June 29, 2022), FORBES at https://www.forbes.com/sites/iainmartin/2022/06/29/hugely-popular-nglapp-offers-teenagers-anonymity-in-comments-about-each-other/ 2 Bride et al. v. Snap Inc., Yolo Technologies Inc., Lightspace Inc., No. 21-cv-6680 (Central District of California), ECF No. 1 (Class Action Complaint) 3 Bride et al. v. Snap Inc., Yolo Technologies Inc., Lightspace Inc., No. 21-cv-6680 (Central District of California), ECF No. 142 (Order Dismissing Complaint) 4 Vogels, E. (2022, Dec 15), Teens and Cyberbullying 2022, Pew Research Center, https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2022/12/15/teens-and-cyberbullying-2022/ 5 Hinduja, Sameer PhD., Patchin, Justin W. PhD., Cyberbullying, identification, Prevention and Response, (2018) at https://cyberbullying.org/Cyberbullying-Identification-Prevention-Response-2018.pdf 6 Arnon S, Brunstein Klomek A, Visoki E, et al. (2022), Association of Cyberbullying Experiences and Perpetration With Suicidality in Early Adolescence (2022). JAMA Network Open. 2022;5(6):e2218746. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.18746 7 Dong, Menga, (2021, Feb 9), Why Teens Don’t Report Cyberbullying at https://desis.osu.edu/seniorthesis/index.php/2021/02/09/why-teens-dont-report-cyberbullying/ 8 Pew Research Statistics (2016, Jan 7), Parents Teens & Digital Monitoring at https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2016/01/07/parents-teens-and-digital-monitoring/ 9 Pew Research Statistics from Pew Research Center https://www.axios.com/2023/01/29/kids-parentsmental-health-depression-anxiet

China leads the world in digital protections for youth development and research justifying their drastic actions in platform design and parenting.

8/2023 China Moves to Drastically Reduce Phone Screen Time in Minors 
China is the world leaders in preventing digital addictions, from current laws prohibiting their social media from having persuasive design and only useful education content, to disallowing gaming for minors except 2 days a week for 2 hours, they are able to collect large amounts of data and are at the forefront of protecting brain development and preventing adverse digital media effects. Proposal now for users aged 16 to 18 would be allowed two hours a day, children aged 8 to 16 would get one hour while children under 8 would be allowed just eight minutes.
 

3/2023 China still having addiction problems and threatening parents with curbing gaming for youth with facial recognition and strict limits, illustrating the problem of addiction with even limited time.

Strict rules with facial recognition & citizenship fines create equal protections for all youth since 2021-

others follow while America has none

 

11/21 The National Press and Publication Administration told state-run news agency Xinhua that game-playing would be only allowed between 8pm to 9pm on Thursday and Sunday. It also instructed gaming companies to prevent children playing outside these times. Chinese state media outlet branded online games a “spiritual opium”.Inspections of online gaming companies will also increase, to check that the time limits are being enforced the regulator said.The move reflects a long running concern about the impact of excessive gaming on the young.  https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-58384457?fbclid=IwAR2Mc38PJeniPlOqM9J4IavIhKOcfmP1rQKWJvNRpBe2qG4rjclxBvoq60s

Update 11/22: China reports having cured nation wide gaming addiction epidemic (that we still see in developed countries like America/Eurpoe/Canada) with the lockdown on gaming under 18. They also banned blockchain (crypto spending in games like Robux) and all crypto curriencies. Other nations should take notice! Australia moving towards such protective measures and South Korea already implemented in an effort to move towards “common prosperity for all” which DMO, gaming & gambling addiction cripples in a society.  Japan announces efforts to fix gaming addiction for their society.

China still having addiction problems and threatening parents 3/23 even with curbing gaming for youth with facial recognition and strict limits, illustrating the problem of addiction with even limited time.

Doctors Say Don't use video monitoring of kids past
baby age

For a GPS-obsessed culture, remotely listening in on conversations or watching kids at play through cameras can seem extreme. Such a practice likely builds anxiety for parents rather than alleviating it, pediatricians and psychologists say. And it could stunt children’s ability to develop their own autonomy and judgment

Social Media Mental Health, Personal and National Security

TikTok- reasons to delete and opt-out: Everything you need to know about the app that knows EVERYTHING about YOU

WSJ reporting on mental health risks of TikTok and eating disorders

Selfitis (compulsion to take pictures of yourself/surroundings) 12/15/22Journal of Neurological Nursing – Selfitis is a psychological behavior which enhances the desire of an individual to take photos oneself habitually. Students are the major victims of this condition as they are the immediate vulnerable people for all social advancement and currently they are the major stakeholders of gadgets and smartphone.

Self-Objectification leads to mental health decline, prevalent on social media sites.

Internet Crimes Against Children

Internet Crimes Against Children statement to the Senate 22/14/2023 from John Pizzuro, Raven Commander, New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children (Ret) New Jersey State Police (Ret): At the moment the predators are winning, our children are not safe, and those who are fiercely committed to protecting them are drowning and will continue to so unless we can get them the resources they need.

Why neuroscientists say you shouldn’t play smartphone games to alleviate boredom

That mood boost you get will increase your urge to keep playing, feeding a cycle that will lead to less time for healthier pursuits.  https://www.fastcompany.com/90658381/neuroscientists-say-you-shouldnt-play-smartphone-games-to-alleviate-boredom

 

Social Media use and depression, anxiety

The link between screens and depression used to be seen as correlation not CAUSAL but it does CAUSE depression and mental health issues. Additionally screens should not be used as coping devices such as seen in substance abuse.Studies link screen use to causing ADHD later in life and misdiagnosed Autism symptoms due to screen use. This 2022 article has in-depth findings about the high correlation between autism and media overuse

Banducci, Sarah. “Study Links Mobile Device Addiction to Depression and Anxiety.” ILLINOIS New Bureau, University of Illinois, 2 Mar. 2016, https://news.illinois.edu/view/6367/334240

Best, Paul, et al. “Online Communication, Social Media and Adolescent Wellbeing: A Systematic Narrative Review.” Children and Youth Services REview, Elsevier B.V.,11 Mar. 2014, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0190740914000693?via3Dihub

Kim, Harris Hyun-soo. “The Impact of Online Social Networking on Adolescent Psychological Wellbeing (WB): A Population-Level Analysis of Korean School-Aged children.” Taylor & Francis, Informa UK Limited, https://tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02673843.2016.1197135

McCrae, Niall, et al. “A Systematic Review: The Influence of Social Media on Depression, Anxiety and Psychological Distress in Adolescents.” Taylor & Francis, Informa UK Limited, https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02673843.2019.1590851

Study Shows Link Between Cyberbullying and Suicidality in Early Adolescence Published on Jun 27, 202

The latest Statistics from Bark.us collected from monitoring alerts and usage trends

https://www.bark.us/blog/newsroom/media-kit/

Common Sense Media Statistics– note their funding comes from big tech, so their action advice is not as robust as it could and perhaps under-reporting  be but statistics are interesting https://www.commonsensemedia.org/research

Limit time online to less than 1 hour per day for middle schoolers

Researchers advise young teens to only devote one hour on school days to recreational internet and video games.

The study from Rutgers University researchers surveyed Chinese middle schoolers over a multi-year span and found that those who reported playing more than one hour on school days and more than four hours on weekends tended to have lower grades, a higher tendency to skip school, and a greater chance of feeling bored in class. https://www.marketwatch.com/story/a-pandemic-wakeup-call-middle-schoolers-should-spend-no-more-than-one-hour-on-screens-otherwise-they-face-consequences-11621962066?reflink=mw_share_email

Screen Use Damaging Children's Eyesight, Blue Light Causes Hormone Problems

Among 6-year-olds, the rate of myopia following lockdown was 21.5 percent; before covid-19, the highest yearly rate in that age group since 2015 was 5.7 percent. https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/kids-computer-eye-strain/2021/04/23/2f4ca928-988c-11eb-a6d0-13d207aadb78_story.html

Excessive smartphone screen time linked to earlier puberty onset. Exposure to blue light, via regular use of tablets and smartphones, may alter hormone levels and increase the risk of earlier puberty, according to data from a rat study presented 9/2022 at the 60th Annual European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology Meeting. https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-09-excessive-smartphone-screen-linked-earlier.html

AOA warnings on gaming and eye health issues https://www.aoa.org/healthy-eyes/eye-deserve-more

More Warnings: Even Limited Screen time causes brain matter to be less and disconnected

Collapse of parenting: Technology, Manipulation, and culture of disrespect

Screen time causes behavior problems in preschoolers

10 year landmark government study of young minds 2018 – continues today

When the impact of digital technology, which has a great place in every aspect of children’s lives, on children’s development is determined from an early age and interventions are planned, children will use digital technology consciously in the future. In addition, these results will allow the planning of various experimental studies in future research. With the spread of such studies, parents will also become aware of digital addiction and they will be able to guide their children more consciously with an active parenting strategy.

Parents CAN help Reduce Addiction Risks

Mediation of children’s digital activities by parents who implement digital parenting strategy is effective on children’s online behavior (Nichols & Selim, 2022). Parental guidance strategies are effective in reducing the addiction of children who spend time with digital games at home during the Covid-19 process. Active parental guidance strategy is effective in preventing children’s digital game addictions. Digitally oriented and free parental strategies increase the time children spend in digital games and therefore increase the level of addiction.

As a result of this study, it was determined that social emotional development was negatively affected as digital game addiction increased in children. Digital game addiction level is associated with parents’ digital game guidance strategies. Active parenting guidance strategy prevents children’s digital game addiction, while digital and free parenting strategies increase addiction. Changes in digital technology have made digital games a part of our lives. Considering that it is not possible to keep children away from digital games, it is a fact that the best strategy to minimize their harm is to be guided by the parents of the children. For this reason, parents should be informed about this issue and the most appropriate guidance strategies should be applied.

When the impact of digital technology, which has a great place in every aspect of children’s lives, on children’s development is determined from an early age and interventions are planned, children will use digital technology consciously in the future. In addition, these results will allow the planning of various experimental studies in future research. With the spread of such studies, parents will also become aware of digital addiction and they will be able to guide their children more consciously with an active parenting strategy.

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