Ofcom today have released their latest Children and parents: media use and attitudes report, and I’ve just been speaking to Emma Borthwick on BBC Radio Cumbria about that:

Key findings

The press release focused on why children spend time online.

A few notes

My scribbles in relation to the press release:

Relevant Articles

A few recent articles that are relevant, especially in the question of whether screentime is ‘bad’.

Screen time no more harmful to teenage mental health than eating potatoes, study shows:

Activities including getting enough sleep and eating breakfast had much stronger impacts on mental health. Smoking cannabis was also 2.7 times more detrimental than screen time, while being bullied was 4.3 times more harmful.

Amy Orban:

“Of the three datasets we analysed for this study, we found over 600 million possible ways to analyse the data. We calculated a large sample of these and found that – if you wanted – you could come up with a large range of positive or negative associations between technology and wellbeing, or no effect at all.”

Digital detoxes are a solution looking for a problem

Most studies also rely on self-reported estimates of technology use, which often don’t reflect reality. Studies that rely on people self-reporting may get inaccurate information. Interestingly, when time in front of a screen is measured automatically by an application or device, depression and anxiety severity aren’t associated with total smartphone usage.

Research often tends to treat all technology use as equal. This assumption overlooks the fact that we have a different experience with each kind of technology we use. For example, mindlessly scrolling Instagram is very different to chatting on WhatsApp, or using a fitness tracker.

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