Episode 19: Should We Worry About Screen Time?

There's so much to learn onlineThis is Episode 19 of PsychCrunch, the podcast from the British Psychological Society’s Research Digest, sponsored by Routledge Psychology. Download here.

Do we worry too much about screen time? The issue of screen use by children and teenagers is rarely out of the headlines, and institutions including the World Health Organization have recommended specific limits on screen time for the youngest age groups. But what does the science actually say about the effects of screen time?

To find out, our presenter Ella Rhodes talks to Dr Amy Orben, Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge and winner of the 2019 BPS award for Outstanding Doctoral Research, who has explored the psychological effects of screen time in her research. 

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Episode credits: Presented and produced by Ella Rhodes, journalist for The Psychologist, with help from the Research Digest and Psychologist teams. Mixing and editing by Jeff Knowler. PsychCrunch theme music by Catherine Loveday and Jeff Knowler; additional music by Ketsa. Artwork by Tim Grimshaw.

Background resources for this episode: 

Screen Time, Laptop Bans, and the Fears that Shape the Use of Technology for Learning, a paper by Dr Torrey Trust in the Journal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education, is free to access thanks to our sponsors Routledge Psychology.

The work by Amy Orben and her colleagues discussed in this episode includes:

Here are the WHO guidelines on screen time mentioned at the beginning of the podcast.

Both The Psychologist and Research Digest have a number of articles on screen time and media effects, including:

The Psychologist Presents… Screen time debunked
A transcript of Professor Andrew Przybylski’s session with editor Jon Sutton at Latitude Festival in summer 2019.

Seeing screen time differently
Jon Sutton reports from a one-day event on research, policy and communication in a digital era, held out the Wellcome Collection in London in 2018.

‘There are wolves in the forest…’
Professor Andrew Przybylski picks three myths around screen time – and how science, and some common sense, can help.

What is actually behind the screen?
Ella Rhodes reports on last year’s parliamentary report from the Science and Technology Committee.

‘Games have helped me a lot throughout my life’
Annie Brookman-Byrne interviews Dr Pete Etchells, Reader in Psychology and Science Communication at Bath Spa University, about his book Lost in a Good Game: Why We Play Video Games and What They Can Do For Us.

Amy Orben honoured
Dr Orben wins the British Psychological Society’s Award for Outstanding Doctoral Research.

Link Between Teens’ Time On Digital Devices And Lower Wellbeing Is “Too Small To Merit Substantial Scientific Discussion”

Abstaining From Social Media Doesn’t Improve Well-Being, Experimental Study Finds

These Violent Delights Don’t Have Violent Ends: Study Finds No link Between Violent Video Games And Teen Aggression

Hard-core players of violent video games do not have emotionally blunted brains

Past PsychCrunch episodes:

Episode one: Dating and Attraction
Episode two: Breaking Bad Habits
Episode three: How to Win an Argument
Episode four: The Psychology of Gift Giving
Episode five: How To Learn a New Language
Episode six: How To Be Sarcastic 😉
Episode seven: Use Psychology To Compete Like an Olympian.
Episode eight: Can We Trust Psychological Studies?
Episode nine: How To Get The Best From Your Team
Episode ten: How To Stop Procrastinating
Episode eleven: How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Episode twelve: How To Be Funnier
Episode thirteen: How to Study and Learn More Effectively
Episode fourteen: Psychological Tricks To Make Your Cooking Taste Better
Episode fifteen: Is Mindfulness A Panacea Or Overhyped And Potentially Problematic?
Bonus episode (sixteen): What’s It Like To Have No Mind’s Eye?
Episode seventeen: How To Make Running Less Painful And More Fun
Episode eighteen: How To Boost Your Creativity

PsychCrunch is sponsored by Routledge Psychology.

PsychCrunch Banner April 16

Routledge interviewed PsychCrunch presenter Christian Jarrett about the aims of the podcast and engaging with the public about psychology research.