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Screened out: meeting the challenge of technology and young people’s wellbeing


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How does online social networking and ‘screen-based media’ influence young people’s wellbeing, and how should policymakers respond?
Research from the University of Essex published in the American Journal of Public Health found a range of negative relationships between adolescent wellbeing and technology.
The analysis, using data from Understanding Society (USoc), found associations between usage of screen-based media (SBM), online social networking sites (SNS) and various measures of wellbeing and socio-emotional difficulties.
In this discussion paper, the Strategic Society Centre responds to the research, exploring its implications for public health and evaluating a range of potential policy responses.
Screened Out recommends the government to:  1. Issue national guidelines for volume of SBM and SNS usage among young people.  2. Empower young people through public health campaigns and compulsory school programmes by educating them about how SBM and SNS usage may affect their wellbeing.  3. Compel technology and Internet companies to acknowledge their responsibilities, engage with the risks posed to young people’s wellbeing and, where necessary, re-design hardware and online experiences to ‘nudge’ young people’s behaviour.  4. Ensure more research into the link between wellbeing, SNS and SBM


Information And Communication Technologies, Social Networks, Young People, Public Policy, Well Being, and Health



References: Booker, C. L., Skew, A. J., Kelly, Y. J., & Sacker, A. (2014) 'Media use, sports participation, and well-being in adolescence: cross-sectional findings from the UK Household Longitudinal Study', American Journal of Public Health, 105(1), 173-179

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