Pete Etchells: A recent briefing from Public Health England warns that too much screen time is causing emotional problems in children. But is it that simple?
(...) But what do we actually know about the effects of screen time on childhood development? It's actually a really tough question to answer, in part because "screen time" is a pretty rubbish concept. It takes into account the use of anything that has a screen – TVs, mobile phones, games consoles and tablets. In a sense, it's easy to see how it's a compelling measure to use: it's a simple idea that everyone can easily relate to. The trouble is, it doesn't really do justice to the sheer diversity of content that screen-based technology can provide. For instance, two hours of watching Teletubbies is probably going to affect our behavior in a completely different way to playing Halo for a couple of hours (although it's questionable which one will do the more damage).