Risky Behaviors Findings

As part of Children and Screens’ ongoing support and curation of cutting-edge, objective, scientifically-rigorous interdisciplinary research, we invited nearly 140 preeminent experts from 10 different disciplines in 22 workgroups to compile the latest research on the effects of media on growth and development, cognition and mental health in toddlers, children and adolescents.

The resulting findings were aggregated and published in a special supplement, “Children, Adolescents, and Screens: What We Know and What We Need to Learn”, in the highly-regarded journal Pediatrics, released on November 1, 2017.

Subsequent new research has also been synthesized and presented where applicable.

Research Summary

Our paper reviews the latest evidence regarding adolescent exposure to online content that might encourage the use of substances, such as alcohol and tobacco, and gambling. The research we review suggests that adolescents can be exposed to considerable content that promotes these behaviors. However, the influence that this content has on adolescents is still not well understood. Future research is needed to determine the magnitude of this risk and potential ways of counteracting it.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has guidelines for parents that are helpful regarding the new world of online media. Perhaps most important is for families to encourage moderate use of digital media, given that excessive use is related to some health risks, such as inadequate sleep and depressed mood.

The analysis, conclusions, and recommendations contained in each paper are solely a product of the individual workgroup and are not the policy or opinions of, nor do they represent an endorsement by, Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development.

Additional Information