Effects of Heavy Screen Time on the Adolescent
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Andrea Boyle, PhD, FNAP
Patricia Harris, PhD, RN
In today’s modern age, the great majority of society utilizes many readily available technological inventions. Adults have incorporated these creations not only into their daily lives, but also into the lives of their children. The current Covid-19 pandemic has taken away a key component of pediatric development, which is in-person schooling. Most children are attending school via online classes and a laptop, which adds more time on top of their usual daily screen time exposure. The current literature has studied the effects of high screen time consumption on the pediatric patient pertaining to body mass index, sleeping patterns, lifestyle habits and developmental screening performance. It has been shown that children exposed to higher than average amounts of screen time face higher odds of being overweight, suffering from impaired sleeping routines, and poorer scores on developmental tests. In addition to this, heavy screen time is associated with many risk factors for childhood obesity. Demographic characteristics, such as the parent’s education level, race and gender, have been shown to affect the level of daily access young children have to screens. There is limited research on the effects of online schooling on the academic performance of young children. Studies have also not looked at the effects that heavy screen time has on pediatric mental health or their development of social skills. As nurses, it is important to explore the long term effects of unregulated screen time access on the health and wellness of the adolescent. It is imperative that both educational and leisurely use of screens are studied, so that adequate intervention can occur and young children can continue to appropriately develop, physically and socially.