There is increasing concern about the amount of time children and adolescents are spending in recreational screen time. There’s also increasing controversy over whether or not screen time is actually harmful. Since 2016, we (researchers who’ve contributed to the development of the 24-hour movement guidelines for children and adolescents) have led a number of wide-ranging reviews of the scientific evidence on the impact of screen time from infancy to early adulthood. We examined whether or not the amount of recreational (spare time, non-educational) digital screen use influences health. These included risks such as obesity, reduced sleep, low physical fitness, anxiety and depression. We also looked at the impact of recreational screen time on social and emotional as well as cognitive and language development, wellbeing and educational attainment.

These reviews demonstrated that high levels of screen time, now typical among children, are associated with potential harm. And they ...

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