Screen Time, Tech Safety & Harm Prevention Research
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Association Between Portable Screen-Based Media Device Access or Use and Sleep Outcomes: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis // Carter, Rees, Hale, Bhattacharjee, & Paradkar, JAMA, 2016 

Association Between Portable Screen-Based Media Device Access or Use and Sleep Outcomes: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis // Carter, Rees, Hale, Bhattacharjee, & Paradkar, JAMA, 2016  | Screen Time, Tech Safety & Harm Prevention Research |

"Importance: Sleep is vital to children's biopsychosocial development. Inadequate sleep quantity and quality is a public health concern with an array of detrimental health outcomes. Portable mobile and media devices have become a ubiquitous part of children's lives and may affect their sleep duration and quality.

Objective: To conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis to examine whether there is an association between portable screen-based media device (eg, cell phones and tablet devices) access or use in the sleep environment and sleep outcomes.

Data Sources: A search strategy consisting of gray literature and 24 Medical Subject Headings was developed in Ovid MEDLINE and adapted for other databases between January 1, 2011, and June 15, 2015. Searches of the published literature were conducted across 12 databases. No language restriction was applied.

Study Selection: The analysis included randomized clinical trials, cohort studies, and cross-sectional study designs. Inclusion criteria were studies of school-age children between 6 and 19 years. Exclusion criteria were studies of stationary exposures, such as televisions or desktop or personal computers, or studies investigating electromagnetic radiation.

Data Extraction and Synthesis: Of 467 studies identified, 20 cross-sectional studies were assessed for methodological quality. Two reviewers independently extracted data.

Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcomes were inadequate sleep quantity, poor sleep quality, and excessive daytime sleepiness, studied according to an a priori protocol.

Results: Twenty studies were included, and their quality was assessed. The studies involved 125 198 children (mean [SD] age, 14.5 [2.2] years; 50.1% male). There was a strong and consistent association between bedtime media device use and inadequate sleep quantity (odds ratio [OR], 2.17; 95% CI, 1.42-3.32) (P < .001, I2 = 90%), poor sleep quality (OR, 1.46; 95% CI, 1.14-1.88) (P = .003, I2 = 76%), and excessive daytime sleepiness (OR, 2.72; 95% CI, 1.32-5.61) (P = .007, I2 = 50%). In addition, children who had access to (but did not use) media devices at night were more likely to have inadequate sleep quantity (OR, 1.79; 95% CI, 1.39-2.31) (P < .001, I2 = 64%), poor sleep quality (OR, 1.53; 95% CI, 1.11-2.10) (P = .009, I2 = 74%), and excessive daytime sleepiness (OR, 2.27; 95% CI, 1.54-3.35) (P < .001, I2 = 24%).

Conclusions and Relevance: To date, this study is the first systematic review and meta-analysis of the association of access to and the use of media devices with sleep outcomes. Bedtime access to and use of a media device were significantly associated with the following: inadequate sleep quantity, poor sleep quality, and excessive daytime sleepiness. An integrated approach among teachers, health care professionals, and parents is required to minimize device access at bedtime, and future research is needed to evaluate the influence of the devices on sleep hygiene and outcomes."


Carter B, Rees P, Hale L, Bhattacharjee D, Paradkar MS. Association Between Portable Screen-Based Media Device Access or Use and Sleep Outcomes: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.JAMA Pediatr. 2016 Oct 31. doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2016.2341. [Epub ahead of print]

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American Academy of Pediatrics Issues New Recommendations On #ScreenTime and Exposure to Cell Phones // EduResearcher

American Academy of Pediatrics Issues New Recommendations On #ScreenTime and Exposure to Cell Phones // EduResearcher | Screen Time, Tech Safety & Harm Prevention Research |

"The American Academy of Pediatrics has recently issued two new sets of recommendations on media use for children.  At first glance, popular news headlines suggest elimination of the previous “no screens before age two” recommendations (see NPR’s American Academy of Pediatrics Lifts ‘No Screens Under 2’ Rule and KQED’s American Academy of Pediatrics Says Some Screen Time is Okay for Kids Under Two). However, close examination of the new guidelines reveal nuanced suggestions that maintain a primary focus on limiting tech usage. What appear to be obscured in public discussions are the same AAP organization’s recommendations issued just months earlier, specifically encouraging parents to reduce children’s exposures to cell phone radiation.

For ease of access, both sets of recommendations are provided in this post.

“Healthy Digital Media Use Habits for Babies, Toddlers & Preschoolers
Media in all forms, including TV, computers, and smartphones can affect how children feel, learn, think, and behave. However, parents (you) are still the most important influence.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) encourages you to help your children develop healthy media use habits early on. Read on to learn more.”…

“What About Apps and Digital Books?

Most apps advertised as “educational” aren’t proven to be effective and they don’t encourage co-viewing or co-play that help young children learn. Also, most educational apps target rote skills, such as ABCs and shapes. These skills are only one part of school readiness. The skills young children need to learn for success in school (and life) such as impulse control, managing emotions, and creative, flexible thinking, are best learned through unstructured and social play with family and friends in the real world.

Digital books (“eBooks”) that have lots of sound and visual effects can sometimes distract children, who then “miss the story” and don’t learn as well as they would from a print book.

If you plan to read e-books to your children:

  • Choose e-books that don’t have too many “bells and whistles.”
  • Read e-books with your children (parent-child interaction around books is one of the most important factors to a child’s success at reading and literacy).

Why Limit Media Use?
Overuse of digital media may place your child at risk of:

  • Not enough sleep. Young children with more media exposure or who have a TV,computer, or mobile device in their bedrooms sleep less and fall asleep later at night. Even babies can be overstimulated by screens and miss the sleep they need to grow.
  • Delays in learning and social skills. Children who watch too much TV in infancy and preschool years can show delays in attention, thinking, language, and social skills. One of the reasons for the delays could be because they interact less with parents and family. Parents who keep the TV on or focus on their own digital media miss precious opportunities to interact with their children and help them learn. See Parents of Young Children: Put Down Your Smartphones.
  • Obesity. Heavy media use during preschool years is linked to weight gain and risk of childhood obesity. Food advertising and snacking while watching TV can promote obesity. Also, children who overuse media are less apt to be active with healthy, physical play.
  • Behavior problems. Violent content on TV and screens can contribute to behavior problems in children, either because they are scared and confused by what they see, or they try to mimic on-screen characters.

Other Tips for Parents, Families, and Caregivers

  • Do not feel pressured to introduce technology early. Media interfaces are intuitive and children can learn quickly.
  • Monitor children’s media. For example, know what apps are used or downloaded.Test apps before your child uses them, play together, and ask your child what he or she thinks about the app.
  • Turn off TVs and other devices when not in use. Background media can distract from parent-child interaction and child play, which are both very important in child language and social-emotional development.
  • Keep bedrooms, mealtimes, and parent-child playtimes screen free and unplugged for children and parents. Turn off phones or set to “do not disturb”during these times.
  • Avoid exposure to devices or screens 1 hour before bedtime. Remove devices from bedrooms before bed.
  • Avoid using media as the only way to calm your children. Although media maybe used to soothe children, such as during a medical procedure or airplane flight,using media as a strategy to calm could lead to problems with a child’s own ability with limit setting and managing emotions. Ask your child’s doctor for help if needed.
  • Develop a Family Media Use plan for you and your family.
  • Remember that your opinion counts. TV, video-game, and other media producers, and sponsors pay attention to the views of the public. Let a TV station know if you like a program, or contact video game companies if the content is too violent. For more information, visit the Federal Communications Commission(FCC) website.
  • Encourage your school and community to advocate for better media programs and for healthier habits. For example, organize a “Screen-Free Week” in your town with other parents, teachers, and neighbors.

Additional Information from (American Academy of Pediatrics)

The related recommendations below on cell phone use were issued by the same American Academy of Pediatrics, yet appear to be receiving much less media attention.  American Academy of Pediatrics Issues New Recommendations to “Reduce Exposure to Cell Phones”: Nation’s largest group of children’s doctors responds to new government study linking cell phone radiation to cancer.

“In response to the U.S. National Toxicology Program study results finding exposure to wireless radiation significantly increased the prevalence of highly malignant heart and brain cancers in rodents, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has issued specific recommendations to reduce wireless cell phone exposure and updated their online resources for parents concerning cell phones and wireless devices.

“They’re not toys. They have radiation that is emitted from them and the more we can keep it off the body and use (the phone) in other ways, it will be safer,” said Jennifer A. Lowry, M.D., FAACT, FAAP, chair of the AAP Council on Environmental Health Executive Committee in the AAPs press release on the NTP Study Results.

“The findings of brain tumors (gliomas) and malignant schwann cell tumors of the heart in the NTP study, as well as DNA damage in brain cells, present a major public health concern because these occurred in the same types of cells that have been reported to develop into tumors in epidemiological studies of adult cell phone users,” stated Ronald L. Melnick, PhD, the National Institutes of Health toxicologist who lead the NTP study design and senior advisor to the Environmental Health Trust. “For children the cancer risks may be greater than that for adults because of greater penetration and absorption of cell phone radiation in the brains of children and because the developing nervous system of children is more susceptible to tissue-damaging agents. Based on this new information, regulatory agencies need to make strong recommendations for consumers to take precautionary measures and avoid close contact with their cell phones, and especially limit or avoid use of cell phones by children.”

The AAP has updated their Healthy Children Webpage on Cell Phones entitled Cell Phone Radiation & Children’s Health: What Parents Need to Know. The webpage reiterated children’s unique vulnerability to cell phone radiation stating, “Another problem is that the cell phone radiation test used by the FCC is based on the devices’ possible effect on large adults—not children. Children’s skulls are thinner and can absorb more radiation.”

The AAP issued the following cell phone safety tips specifically to reduce exposure to wireless radiation:

  • “Use text messaging when possible, and use cell phones in speaker mode or with the use of hands-free kits.
  • When talking on the cell phone, try holding it an inch or more away from your head.
  • Make only short or essential calls on cell phones.
  • Avoid carrying your phone against the body like in a pocket, sock, or bra. Cell phone manufacturers can’t guarantee that the amount of radiation you’re absorbing will be at a safe level.
  • Do not talk on the phone or text while driving. This increases the risk of automobile crashes.
  • Exercise caution when using a phone or texting while walking or performing other activities. “Distracted walking” injuries are also on the rise.
  • If you plan to watch a movie on your device, download it first, then switch to airplane mode while you watch in order to avoid unnecessary radiation exposure.
  • Keep an eye on your signal strength (i.e. how many bars you have). The weaker your cell signal, the harder your phone has to work and the more radiation it gives off. It’s better to wait until you have a stronger signal before using your device.
  • Avoid making calls in cars, elevators, trains, and buses. The cell phone works harder to get a signal through metal, so the power level increases.
  • Remember that cell phones are not toys or teething items.

Even though the cell phone manual contains specific instructions that say do not carry the phone next to the body, the US government does not publicize this information nor mandate companies inform the public, leaving most people unaware of potential hazards, unwittingly allowing their young children to play with them like toys,” stated Devra Davis MPH, PhD, president of the Environmental Health Trust pointing to the Berkeley Cell Phone Right To Know Ordinance being challenged in court this month.

In 2012, the AAP published Pediatric Environmental Health, 3rd Edition recommending, “exposures can be reduced by encouraging children to use text messaging when possible, make only short and essential calls on cellular phones, use hands free kits and wired headsets and maintain the cellular phone an inch or more away from the head.”

Since 2012, the AAP has supported the Federal Cell Phone Right to Know Legislation and has written letters to the FCC calling on the federal government to review and strengthen radiation standards for wireless devices in an effort to protect children’s health.

AAP Healthy Cell Phone Radiation & Children’s Health: What Parents Need to Know

AAP responds to study showing link between cell phone radiation, tumors in rats May 27, 2016

2012 AAP Letter in Support of the Cell Phone Right to Know Act

2013 AAP Letter to the FCC calling for a review of RF guidelines





For main post on EduResearcher, see: 

For readers interested in additional updates and research on screen time, development, learning, and health, see here.



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Screen Time Use Among Adolescents During the COVID-19 Pandemic Findings From the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study // JAMA Pediatrics

Screen Time Use Among Adolescents During the COVID-19 Pandemic Findings From the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study // JAMA Pediatrics | Screen Time, Tech Safety & Harm Prevention Research |

"Excessive screen use in adolescents has been associated with physical and mental health risks,1 and there are known disparities in screen use across sex, race and ethnicity, and income in adolescents.2 The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent stay-at-home mandates, online learning, and social distancing requirements have led to an increasing reliance on digital media (ie, screens) for nearly all facets of adolescents’ lives (eg, entertainment, socialization, education). Although studies conducted worldwide have suggested an increase in screen time among children and teens during the pandemic,3,4 this has not yet been explored using national US data. The aims of this study were to evaluate adolescents’ self-reported screen use during the pandemic across 7 modalities by sociodemographic categories and to assess mental health and resiliency factors associated with screen use among a demographically diverse, national sample of children and adolescents aged 10 to 14 years."

For full paper, please visit: 

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Toddlers on Touchscreens: Immediate effects of gaming and physical activity on cognitive flexibility of 2.5-year-olds in the US // Antrilli & Wang, 2018, Journal of Children and Media, Vol. 12, No. 4

Toddlers on Touchscreens: Immediate effects of gaming and physical activity on cognitive flexibility of 2.5-year-olds in the US // Antrilli & Wang, 2018, Journal of Children and Media, Vol. 12, No. 4 | Screen Time, Tech Safety & Harm Prevention Research |

Interactive technologies have become a common play medium for young children; it is not unusual for toddlers to play games on a touchscreen device in lieu of games in the yard. Here, we compared the immediate effects of physical and touchscreen play on 2.5-year-olds’ cognitive flexibility, a key aspect of executive function. For nine minutes, toddlers engaged in touchscreen play or physical play; a third group drew and colored (control group). Next, a sorting task measured cognitive flexibility. The physical-play group outperformed the other two groups. Compared to the control group, toddlers’ cognitive flexibility benefited from physical play, whereas touchscreen play yielded no significant effect. Interestingly, toddlers who played the touchscreen game in a socially interactive way outperformed those who treated gaming as solitary play. Together, the results bear practical implications on whether and how to introduce young children to interactive technologies for play." 

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Absorption of Wireless Radiation In The Child Versus Adult Brain and Eye From Cell Phone Radiation or Virtual Reality // Environmental Research 

Wireless radiation absorption in child vs adult brain & eye from cell phone conversation or virtual reality // Fernandez C, de Salles AA, Sears ME, Morris RD, Davis DL. Absorption of wireless radiation in the child versus adult brain and eye from cell phone conversation or virtual reality. Environmental Research. Jun 5, 2018.

• More cell phone radiation is absorbed by children's inner brain tissues than adults’.
• Children's radio-frequency radiation exposure should be reduced.
• Further research to evaluate the risks to the eye from use of VR is urgently needed.
• It is biologically relevant and feasible to reduce the standards’ averaging volume.
• Current methods to determine wireless device compliance should be revised.

Children's brains are more susceptible to hazardous exposures, and are thought to absorb higher doses of radiation from cell phones in some regions of the brain. Globally the numbers and applications of wireless devices are increasing rapidly, but since 1997 safety testing has relied on a large, homogenous, adult male head phantom to simulate exposures; the “Standard Anthropomorphic Mannequin” (SAM) is used to estimate only whether tissue temperature will be increased by more than 1 Celsius degree in the periphery. The present work employs anatomically based modeling currently used to set standards for surgical and medical devices, that incorporates heterogeneous characteristics of age and anatomy. Modeling of a cell phone held to the ear, or of virtual reality devices in front of the eyes, reveals that young eyes and brains absorb substantially higher local radiation doses than adults’. Age-specific simulations indicate the need to apply refined methods for regulatory compliance testing; and for public education regarding manufacturers' advice to keep phones off the body, and prudent use to limit exposures, particularly to protect the young.
"In summary, compared with adult models, children experience two- to three-fold higher RF doses to: 1) localized areas of the brain when a cell phone is positioned next to the ear; and 2) the eyes and frontal lobe when a cell phone is used to view virtual reality. These findings raise serious questions about the current approach to certify cell phones; particularly the use of the SAM. "
"Our modeling demonstrates clearly that localized psSAR varies significantly for critical components of the brain. Younger models absorb proportionally more radiation in the eyes and brain – grey matter, cerebellum and hippocampus—and the local dose rate varies inversely with age. This reflects the fact that the head is not homogeneous. Indeed, localized heating up to 5 Centigrade degrees has been detected as a result of mobile phone radiation studied ex vivo in cow brain using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance thermometry (Gultekin and Moeller, 2013)." 
"Our findings support reexamination of methods to determine regulatory compliance for wireless devices, and highlight the importance of precautionary advice such as that of American Academy of Pediatrics (2016). The Academy recommends that younger children should not use cell phones, and that prudent measures should be taken to eliminate exposure (e.g. using devices for amusement or education only when all wireless features are turned off – in “airplane mode”) or to minimize exposure (e.g. texting or using speakerphone), and that cell phones should not be kept next to the body. Use of wires/cables in schools and homes circumvents needless exposures of children to radiation from both devices and Wi-Fi routers. There is also an urgent need for research to evaluate the risks to the eye from use of cell phones in virtual reality applications." 
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Increasing Screen Time During the Coronavirus Pandemic Could Accelerate Childhood Myopia // Review of Myopia Management

Increasing Screen Time During the Coronavirus Pandemic Could Accelerate Childhood Myopia // Review of Myopia Management | Screen Time, Tech Safety & Harm Prevention Research |

By Dwight Akerman, OD, MBA, FAAO

"Medical researchers reviewed the impact of increased digital device usage arising from COVID-19 lockdown measures on myopia and made recommendations for mitigating potential detrimental effects on myopia management.

Their findings suggest that increased digital screen time, near work, and limited outdoor activities were found to be associated with the onset and progression of myopia and could potentially be aggravated during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak period.


While school closures may be short-lived, increased access, adoption and dependence on digital devices could have a long-term negative impact on childhood development, they warn. Raising awareness among parents, children, and government agencies is key to mitigating myopigenic behaviors that may become entrenched during this period.


They suggest that there is a possibility that a prolonged battle against the COVID-19 virus may lead to an increase in the incidence of myopia by shaping long-term behavioral changes conducive for the onset and progression of myopia.

The researchers conclude that while it is vital to adopt strict measures (e.g., lockdown and home quarantine) to slow or halt the spread of COVID-19, multidisciplinary collaborations and close partnerships between ministries, schools, and parents are necessary to minimize the long-term collateral impact of COVID-19-related policies on various health outcomes such as myopia, which was already a significant public health concern before the pandemic.



Digital Screen Time During COVID-19 Pandemic: Risk for a Further Myopia Boom?

Chee Wai Wong, Andrew Tsai, Jost B. Jonas, Kyoko Ohno-Matsui, James Chen, Marcus Ang, Daniel Shu Wei Ting

Purpose: To review the impact of increased digital device usage arising from lockdown measures instituted during the COVID-19 pandemic on myopia and make recommendations for mitigating potential detrimental effects on myopia control.

Methods: Review of studies focused on digital device usage, near work, and outdoor time in relation to myopia onset and progression. Public health policies on myopia control, recommendations on screen time, and information pertaining to the impact of COVID-19 on increased digital device use were presented. Recommendations to minimize the impact of the pandemic on myopia onset and progression in children were made.

Results: Increased digital screen time, near work, and limited outdoor activities were found to be associated with the onset and progression of myopia and could potentially be aggravated during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak period. While school closures may be short-lived, increased access, adoption and dependence on digital devices could have a long-term negative impact on childhood development. Raising awareness among parents, children, and government agencies is key to mitigating myopigenic behaviors that may become entrenched during this period.

Conclusions: While it is important to adopt critical measures to slow or halt the spread of COVID-19, close collaboration between parents, schools, and ministries is necessary to assess and mitigate the long-term collateral impact of COVID-19 on myopia management policies.

Wong, Chee Wai, et al. “Digital Screen Time During COVID-19 Pandemic: Risk for a Further Myopia Boom?.” American Journal of Ophthalmology (2020). 

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Health and Safety Research Gaps in Policies and Practices Integrating Emerging Technologies for Young Children 

To download slides, click on title or arrow above. 

Links are as follows in order of the slides: 


The Silicon Valley Billionaires Remaking America's Schools 


Dr. Catherine Steiner-Adair
Clinical Psychologist and Research Associate at Harvard Medical School 


Video link may be viewed at: 


Carter B, Rees P, Hale L, Bhattacharjee D, Paradkar MS. Association Between Portable Screen-Based Media Device Access or Use and Sleep Outcomes: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.JAMA Pediatr. 2016 Oct 31. doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2016.2341. [Epub ahead of print] 


Screen Time Hurts More Than Kids' Eyes 


New Media Consortium / Consortium for School Networking Horizon Report 


"American Revolution 2.0: How Education Innovation is Going to Revitalize America and Transform the U.S. Economy" 


"Preschool is Good For Children But It's Expensive So Utah Is Offering It Online" m/local/education/preschool-is- good-for-poor-kids-but-its- expensive-so-utah-is-offering-it- online/2015/10/09/27665e52- 5e1d-11e5-b38e- 06883aacba64_story.html  


Philanthropy Roundtable's: "Blended Learning: Wise Givers Guide to Supporting Tech-Assisted Learning" (Formerly chaired by B. DeVos)  


CyberCharters Have Overwhelming Negative Impact 


Ma, J., van den Heuvel, M., Maguire, J., Parkin, P., Birken, C. (2017). Is handheld screen time use associated with language delay in infants? Presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting, San Francisco, CA.  


Jonathan Rochelle’s GSV/ASU PRIMETIME Keynote Speech pitching Google Cardboard for children in schools as proxy for actual field trips: 


Scientists Urge Google to Stop Untested Microwave Radiation of Children's Eyes and Brains with Virtual Reality Devices in Schools //  Asus product manual 


Telecom Industry Liability and Insurance Information 


National Association for Children and Safe Technology - iPad Information 


For infant/pregnancy related safety precautions, please visit 


194 Signatories (physicians, scientists, educators) on Joint Statement on Pregnancy and Wireless Radiation 


Article screenshot from France: "Portables. L'embrouille des ondes electromagnetiques


Wireless Phone Radiation Risks and Public Policy 


"Show The Fine Print" 


Scientist petition calls for greater protective measures for children and pregnant women, cites need for precautionary health warnings, stronger regulation of electromagnetic fields, creation of EMF free zones, and media disclosures of experts’ financial relationships with industry when citing their opinions regarding the safety of EMF-emitting technologies. Published in European Journal of Oncology 


International Agency for Research on Cancer Classifies Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields as Possibly Carcinogenic to Humans (2011)


For more on source of funding research, see: and 


Maryland State Children’s Environmental Health and Protection Advisory Council // Public Testimony


"Until now, radiation from cell towers has not been considered a risk to children, but a recent study raises new questions about possible long-term, harmful effects." 


For further reading, please see Captured Agency report published by Harvard’s Center for Ethics  or 


Updates/posts/safety information on Virtual Reality: 


Environmental Health Trust Virtual Reality Radiation Absorption Slides 


Healthy Kids in a Digital World: 


National Association for Children and Safe Technology 


Doctors’ Letters on Wifi in Schools// 154 page compilation 


Insurance and Liability Disclaimers/Information from Telecom Companies 


Most of the documents and articles embedded within the presentation above are searchable/accessible on the following page:

Document above is a pdf with live links. They are provided above for easier access. To download the original file, please click on title or arrow above. It is a large file so may take several minutes.  



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Social Media Use and Mental Health: A Review

Social Media Use and Mental Health: A Review


An ongoing open-source  literature review posted and curated by Jonathan Haidt (NYU-Stern) and Jean Twenge (San Diego State U). You can cite this document as:


Haidt, J., & Twenge, J. (2019). Social media use and mental health: A review. Unpublished manuscript, New York University.


The review contains comments added by other researchers: Chris Ferguson (Stetson U), Sarah Rose Cavanagh (Assumption College), Tom Hollenstein (Queens U., Canada), Kai Lukoff (U. Washington), Ian Goddard, Ray Aldred (??), Sonia Livingstone (??). You can find this doc linked from, or from


Also see our companion review: Is there an increase in adolescent mood disorders, self-harm, and suicide since 2010 in the USA and UK? A review


See also additional Google docs laying out evidence for trends in mental health and social media use in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.


First posted: Feb 7, 2019. Last updated: August 22, 2019.


This Google doc is a working document that contains the citations and abstracts of the published articles we have found that shed light on a question that is currently being debated in the USA and UK: Does social media use contribute to the recent rise of adolescent  mood disorders (depression and anxiety) and related behaviors (especially self-harm and suicide)?  [See companion review for studies documenting this recent rise.]


This Google Doc is a work in progress. We (Haidt & Twenge) have not done an exhaustive search of citation databases. A Google Scholar search for [“social media” depression] yields 72,000 hits. We begin instead with articles published in or after 2014 that are being cited by scholars on either side of the debate. (We pick 2014 because the increase in adolescent depression and anxiety is not clearly visible until around 2013, and it takes a while for papers to be published.) We invite fellow scholars to point us to studies we have missed, or to note ways in which we are misinterpreting the studies we cite below.


We are not unbiased. Haidt came to the tentative conclusion that there is a causal link, and said so in his book (The Coddling of the American Mind, with Greg Lukianoff.) Twenge said the same thing in her book (iGen). Haidt’s own research (presented in The Righteous Mind) says that we likely to be motivated to find evidence to support the positions we took publicly. Like all people, we suffer from confirmation bias. But we take J.S. Mill seriously, and we know that we need help from critics to improve our thinking and get closer to the truth. If you are a researcher and would like to notify us about other studies, or add comments or counterpoints to this document, please request access to the Google Doc, or contact Haidt directly, and he will set your permissions to add comments to the Google doc. This document is evolving based on feedback. A copy of the original document, as posted on Feb 7, is here. 





Clickable Table of Contents:















6. DISCUSSION        44



Two studies published in January 2019 suggest that there is little or no association between social media use and harmful mental health outcomes: Orben & Przybylski (2019) and Heffer, Good, et al. (2019). A third study published in January suggested that there is a more substantial link: Kelly, Zilanawala, Booker, & Sacker (2019). These three studies, all published in reputable journals in the same month, are now getting attention from journalists, leaving many parents and policymakers confused about what to believe. We therefore thought it would be useful to gather together in one place the abstracts of the studies that are often referred to in these debates.


We divide the studies into three categories, based on which method they use: 1) cross-sectional correlational studies, 2) time lag or longitudinal studies, and 3) true experiments. Each method answers a different question. Finding answers to the three questions will allow us to address the question everyone cares about: is social media contributing to the recent rise in anxiety, depression, self-harm, and suicide among American and British teenagers? The answers may be too tentative to form the basis of legislation in 2019, but not to form the basis for advice to parents, millions of whom are asking questions like: Should I let my 11-year old child have an Instagram or Snapchat account? If not now, then when? If yes, then should I impose any time limits? These questions are important and in the forefront of many parents’ minds. We’ll offer some suggestions for parents at the end of the document.


We structure this list of abstracts around three questions, each one addressed by a different kind of study. Within each question we present the studies that DO find a relationship in subsection 1, and the studies that DON’T find a relationship in subsection 2. For each study we offer a link to the original publication and we reprint the full abstract with no edits, other than bold-facing some parts. We offer brief comments and show figures from some of the studies."...


For full document, please visit:

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Colleges are turning students’ phones into surveillance machines, tracking the locations of hundreds of thousands // Washington Post

Colleges are turning students’ phones into surveillance machines, tracking the locations of hundreds of thousands // Washington Post | Screen Time, Tech Safety & Harm Prevention Research |

By Drew Harwell

When Syracuse University freshmen walk into professor Jeff Rubin’s Introduction to Information Technologies class, seven small Bluetooth beacons hidden around the Grant Auditorium lecture hall connect with an app on their smartphones and boost their “attendance points.”

And when they skip class? The SpotterEDU app sees that, too, logging their absence into a campus database that tracks them over time and can sink their grade. It also alerts Rubin, who later contacts students to ask where they’ve been. His 340-person lecture has never been so full.

“They want those points,” he said. “They know I’m watching and acting on it. So, behaviorally, they change.”


Short-range phone sensors and campuswide WiFi networks are empowering colleges across the United States to track hundreds of thousands of students more precisely than ever before. Dozens of schools now use such technology to monitor students’ academic performance, analyze their conduct or assess their mental health.


But some professors and education advocates argue that the systems represent a new low in intrusive technology, breaching students’ privacy on a massive scale. The tracking systems, they worry, will infantilize students in the very place where they’re expected to grow into adults, further training them to see surveillance as a normal part of living, whether they like it or not.

“We’re adults. Do we really need to be tracked?” said Robby Pfeifer, a sophomore at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, which recently began logging the attendance of students connected to the campus’ WiFi network. “Why is this necessary? How does this benefit us? … And is it just going to keep progressing until we’re micromanaged every second of the day?"


This style of surveillance has become just another fact of life for many Americans. A flood of cameras, sensors and microphones, wired to an online backbone, now can measure people’s activity and whereabouts with striking precision, reducing the mess of everyday living into trend lines that companies promise to help optimize.Americans say in surveys they accept the technology’s encroachment because it often feels like something else: a trade-off of future worries for the immediacy of convenience, comfort and ease. If a tracking system can make students be better, one college adviser said, isn’t that a good thing?


But the perils of increasingly intimate supervision — and the subtle way it can mold how people act — have also led some to worry whether anyone will truly know when all this surveillance has gone too far. “Graduates will be well prepared … to embrace 24/7 government tracking and social credit systems,” one commenter on the Slashdot message board said. “Building technology was a lot more fun before it went all 1984.”


Instead of GPS coordinates, the schools rely on networks of Bluetooth transmitters and wireless access points to piece together students’ movements from dorm to desk. One company that uses school WiFi networks to monitor movements says it gathers 6,000 location data points per student every day.

School and company officials call location monitoring a powerful booster for student success: If they know more about where students are going, they argue, they can intervene before problems arise. But some schools go even further, using systems that calculate personalized “risk scores” based on factors such as whether the student is going to the library enough."...


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Health Research Gaps in the Marketing and Promotion of Emerging Educational Technologies // (Marachi, 2018) Presented at the Digital Media and Developing Minds Conference, New York 

To download poster, click on title above. For resource collections related to the research and including many of the references cited, see: See also: 

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Oregon Wireless Safety Bill (SB 283) Passed Both Houses of Legislature and Awaits Governor's Signature // June 19th, 2019

Oregon Wireless Safety Bill (SB 283) Passed Both Houses of Legislature and Awaits Governor's Signature // June 19th, 2019 | Screen Time, Tech Safety & Harm Prevention Research |
06/19/2019 11:50 AM PDT

Relating to exposure to radiation in schools in this state; and declaring an emergency.
Directs Oregon Health Authority to review peer-reviewed, independently funded scientific studies of health effects of exposure to microwave radiation, particularly exposure that results from use of wireless network technologies in schools and to report results of review to interim committee of Legislative Assembly related to education not later than January 2, 2021.
Specifies requirements for review. Directs Department of Education to develop recommendations to schools in this state for practices and alternative technologies that reduce students' exposure to microwave radiation that Oregon Health Authority report identifies as harmful. Declares emergency, effective on passage. 
Oregon public schools serve approximately 581,000 students in 197 school districts. Oregon law directs school districts to provide opportunities for students to use technology. Oregon law also requires school districts to develop and adopt a Healthy and Safe Schools Plan. The plan must address environmental conditions at the facilities owned or leased by the district or school where students or staff are present on a regular basis. Senate Bill 283 directs ODE to inform schools about potential health hazards of using wireless network technology in schools and to provide recommendations for minimizing exposure to possible harmful effects.
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Silicon Valley parents are raising their kids tech-free — and it should be a red flag // Business Insider

Silicon Valley parents are raising their kids tech-free — and it should be a red flag // Business Insider | Screen Time, Tech Safety & Harm Prevention Research | 

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Is 5G Technology Safe? The Debate Intensifies //

Is 5G Technology Safe? The Debate Intensifies // | Screen Time, Tech Safety & Harm Prevention Research |


NEW YORK (WHEC) -- The major cell phone companies promise 5G networks will bring faster internet speeds, better reception and the ability to connect more devices simultaneously but as they ramp up for the rollout, many are wondering whether the technology is safe.


What makes 5G different? 2G brought the ability to text message, 3G laid the groundwork for smartphones and 4G allowed video streaming. 5G is expected to download data 20 times faster and could pave the way for self-driving vehicles but a big question many have is whether the radio frequency waves it takes to do all of that are dangerous to your body and overall health.  


"There are good parts of 5G, I guess, but it has effects, side effects, so I think people should research it really," says Judi Flanders of Penfield.

Flanders currently lives within a mile of a cell phone tower and has long been concerned about how much radiation she's being exposed to but recently that concern grew when she learned Verizon is in talks with the town to upgrade its network to 5G.  


Currently, 3G and 4G service come from regular cell phone towers like the one near Flanders home but 5G works differently. Smaller base stations or antennas are installed all over the community and then networked together with the tower.  

Wireless companies expect to install about 300,000 antennas nationwide which is about equal to the number of cell towers built in the U.S. over the last 30 years. That's why carriers are knocking on the doors of our local leaders.

"We've been approached by a couple of different groups to at least start the conversation," says Penfield Town Supervisor Tony LaFountian.  


LaFountain says he's heard from residents that are worried about whether 5G radiation can cause cancer.


"You get information from the carriers to say it's safe, these are all of our studies and then of course there's an equal amount of information on the other side to say there are health concerns and health risks associated with this," he says.

Dr. David Carpenter is the director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany.


"It's too new for there to be any studies of human health and this is a big issue. Why are we rolling out this new form of electromagnetic radiation without any attention to the question of whether it's safe or not…with regard to 3G and 4G, we have absolutely definitive evidence that excessive use of cell phones, held to your ear, increases the rate of brain cancer," he tells News10NBC. 


But that's excessive, long-term use with the phone to your head. What about proximity to towers and antennas? Most public health experts seem to agree that 5G will increase the levels of RF radiation in the vicinity of the antennas.


"It means that you're not going to be able to walk down the sidewalk without being continuously irradiated," Dr. Carpenter says.  


But the wireless companies installing 5G say the radiation will be low and well within the federal government's allowable standards.


Verizon is interested in upgrading its network here in the Rochester area, so News10NBC reached out to them to ask about this issues.


In a statement, spokesman David Weissmann says, "All equipment used for 5G must comply with federal safety standards. Those standards have wide safety margins and are designed to protect everyone, including children. Everyday exposure to the radio frequency energy from 5G small cells will be well within those safety limits, and is comparable to exposure from products such as baby monitors, Wi-Fi routers, and Bluetooth devices."


The FDA and the FCC say based on the current information available, they believe the safety limits are acceptable for protecting public health. Some governments in other parts of the world disagree though. In Brussels, Belgium, the expansion to 5G has been halted until more research is done. Dr. Carpenter says he'd like the U.S. to slow down the process too.


"There are a lot of factors that go into that [determining what causes cancer] and you can never say that one person's cancer was because of this particular exposure. What we can say with great confidence is that any exposure to radio frequency radiation is going to increase your risk of developing cancer," he says.

So, what happens if you're not comfortable with 5G and don't want an antenna near your house?


You don't have many options to fight it.

The FCC has restricted the ability of cities and towns to regulate 5G infrastructure. Under new rules, local governments have tight deadlines to approve or reject installation of cellular equipment. The rules also limit how much municipalities can charge wireless carriers who to put hardware in public rights of way. The FCC also prohibits cities and towns from rejected an application solely for health concerns."... 


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Joel Moskowitz, Ph.D, UC Berkeley Center for Family and Community Health Keynote on Cell Phones, Cell Towers, and Wireless Safety // UC Berkeley School of Public Health

"On February 27, 2019, Joel Moskowitz, Ph.D., delivered the keynote presentation, "Cell Phones, Cell Towers and Wireless Safety" for the "Balancing Technology" series offered by University Health Services (UHS) at the University of California, Berkeley. The event was co-sponsored by the UC Berkeley School of Public Health.
Dr. Moskowitz, director of the UC Berkeley Center for Family and Community Health, has been translating and disseminating the research on wireless radiation health effects since 2009. His Electromagnetic Radiation Safety website has had more than two million page views by visitors from over 200 countries since 2013.
The presentation was filmed by UHS and by CNBC. The video, slides, and safety tips can be viewed at the following links:

View Video: (72 minute YouTube video)
View Slides: (Supplemental slides can be found at end of presentation.)

Safety Tips
Electromagnetic Radiation Safety: 
California Department of Public Health:"
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RE: Cellular Telephone Use and the Risk of Brain Tumors: Update of the UK Million Women Study // Journal of the National Cancer Institute 

RE: Cellular Telephone Use and the Risk of Brain Tumors: Update of the UK Million Women Study // Journal of the National Cancer Institute  | Screen Time, Tech Safety & Harm Prevention Research |

"Like the Danish Cohort study (1), the recent article by Schüz et al. (2), which examined cellular telephone use and brain tumor risk in the Million Women Study, suffered from poor exposure assessment that likely contributed to exposure misclassification. Moreover, participant attrition in this study was high (68%), and the study was underpowered; the analysis sample included few participants with heavier cell phone use, the group with the greatest brain tumor risk (2). Only 18% of cell phone users talked on cell phones 30 or more minutes per week (approximately 4 min/d or 26 h/y) (2). Not “more than 3%” of cell phone users had cumulative call time of 1640 or more hours, the top decile of cell phone use in the 13-nation Interphone Study (3), the only subgroup for which there was statistically significantly greater brain tumor risk.


Other methodological limitations of the study include failure to control for cordless phone use, a potential confounder, and failure to control for hands-free cell phone use, which reduces brain tumor risk from microwave radiation exposure by keeping cell phones away from the head during calls (4).

Although the Schüz et al. (2) article provides sound advice to “reduce unnecessary exposures,” the abstract in this article is a disservice to public health because it ends with a misleading assertion: “Our findings support the accumulating evidence that cellular telephone use under usual conditions does not increase brain tumor incidence.”

How can the authors of this article argue that their results apply to “usual conditions” when the amount of cell phone use in their analysis sample was much less than “usual” for the United Kingdom? According to cellular industry estimates, in 2011 the average mobile phone subscriber in the United Kingdom had 126 minutes of call time per month for outgoing calls (29 min/wk or 4.1 min/d) (5). This is a conservative estimate of overall call time because it does not account for incoming calls. In the United States, call time was approximately 3 times greater than in the United Kingdom (5).

This assertion is also problematic because a recent meta-analysis of 46 case-control studies (6) found statistically significantly increased brain tumor incidence with cumulative call time of 1000 or more hours (approximately 17 min/d over a 10-year period). Furthermore, Philips et al. (7) examined brain tumor incidence in England from 1995 to 2015 and found a twofold increase in the standardized incidence of the most common malignant brain tumor, glioblastoma multiforme, along with reduced incidence of lower-grade brain tumors, which could indicate a tumor promotion effect from the increased uptake in cell phone use during this time period.

In sum, the Schüz et al. (2) study provides no assurance of safety from brain tumors for most cell phone users, especially those who start using cell phones at a younger age than the middle-aged and elderly women who participated in this study." 

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Meta will continue to use facial recognition technology, actually // Input Magazine

Meta will continue to use facial recognition technology, actually // Input Magazine | Screen Time, Tech Safety & Harm Prevention Research |

By Matt Wille
"Earlier this week, Facebook made the somewhat shocking announcement that it would be shutting down its facial recognition systems. But now, Facebook’s parent company, Meta, has walked that promise back a bit. A lot, really.

Meta is not planning to hold back its use of facial recognition technology in its forthcoming metaverse products. Facebook’s new parent company told Recode that the social network’s commitment does not in any way apply to the metaverse. The metaverse will abide by its own rules, thank you very much. In fact, Meta spokesperson Jason Grosse says the company is already experimenting with different ways to bring biometrics into the metaverse equation.


“We believe this technology has the potential to enable positive use cases in the future that maintain privacy, control, and transparency, and it’s an approach we’ll continue to explore as we consider how our future computing platforms and devices can serve people’s needs,” Grosse said of the technology.

Sigh. We should’ve seen that one coming. Changing the company’s name did nothing to alter its underhanded business strategies.

LOL JK — Just a week after its rebrand, Meta is making it clear that taking the “Facebook” out of Facebook did nothing to actually change the company. One of Meta’s first actions as a new company is making a big deal out of shutting down its facial recognition tech, only to a few days later say, “Oh, we didn’t mean it like that.”


In announcing the seemingly all-encompassing shutdown, Meta failed to mention a key fact: that it would not be eliminating DeepFace, its house-made facial recognition algorithms, from its servers. We only learned of this pivotal information because Grosse spilled the beans to The New York Times. Grosse did say, at that point, that Meta hadn’t “ruled out” using facial recognition in the future — but he failed to mention that Meta had already begun discussing how it could use biometrics in its future products."...


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Technology and Children: Schools, Screens and COVID-19

"The SCCMA hosted a 4-part CME webinar series on environmental health. A variety of topics were covered that are related to understanding the human impacts of environmental health issues. Experts discussed not only the problems we face, but also innovative solutions to promote health and well-being for our patients, ourselves and our planet.

An in-depth discussion about the science surrounding the social, emotional and learning impacts of the overuse of technology. Computers have been a wonderful addition to our modern lives, but even before COVID 19, our children from preschoolers to teens have increasingly been spending more and more time staring at screens and on social media. The pandemic has underscored for many parents and educators some of the downsides of too much technology. You will hear about the experiences of clinicians and teachers, who have witnessed the technology revolution, its effects on children along with solutions for parents and educators. We invite you to learn the personal and professional perspectives on how to balance technology from a psychologist, a psychiatrist and 2 veteran teachers.

This webinar presentation will empower you to:​
-Discuss the marked decline in students' abilities of: concentration, memory, test scores, empathy, and social interaction since the introduction of the "smartphone" in 2007

-Identify tips on how to handle the pending “screen-detox” an entire generation of young people will experience as students all over the world transition back to the real world

-Learn how screen time can dysregulate the nervous system by altering brain chemistry, circadian rhythms, stress hormones, blood flow and more." 

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Social Media Use and Mental Health: A Review // Haidt & Twenge, 2019) 

Social Media Use and Mental Health: A Review // Haidt & Twenge, 2019)  | Screen Time, Tech Safety & Harm Prevention Research |

Social Media Use and Mental Health: A Review An ongoing open-source literature review posted and curated by Jonathan Haidt (NYU-Stern) and Jean Twenge (San Diego State University).


You can cite this document as: Haidt, J., & Twenge, J. (2019). Social media use and mental health: A review." 


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Association Between Screen Time and Children’s Performance on a Developmental Screening Test (2019) // Journal of the American Medical Association 

Association Between Screen Time and Children’s Performance on a Developmental Screening Test (2019) // Journal of the American Medical Association  | Screen Time, Tech Safety & Harm Prevention Research |

  Excessive screen time is associated with delays in development; however, it is unclear if greater screen time predicts lower performance scores on developmental screening tests or if children with poor developmental performance receive added screen time as a way to modulate challenging behavior.

Objective  To assess the directional association between screen time and child development in a population of mothers and children.
Design, Setting, and Participants
  This longitudinal cohort study used a 3-wave, cross-lagged panel model in 2441 mothers and children in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, drawn from the All Our Families study. Data were available when children were aged 24, 36, and 60 months. Data were collected between October 20, 2011, and October 6, 2016. Statistical analyses were conducted from July 31 to November 15, 2018.

Exposures  Media.
Main Outcomes and Measures
  At age 24, 36, and 60 months, children’s screen-time behavior (total hours per week) and developmental outcomes (Ages and Stages Questionnaire, Third Edition) were assessed via maternal report.

Results  Of the 2441 children included in the analysis, 1169 (47.9%) were boys. A random-intercepts, cross-lagged panel model revealed that higher levels of screen time at 24 and 36 months were significantly associated with poorer performance on developmental screening tests at 36 months (β, −0.08; 95% CI, −0.13 to −0.02) and 60 months (β, −0.06; 95% CI, −0.13 to −0.02), respectively. These within-person (time-varying) associations statistically controlled for between-person (stable) differences.

Conclusions and Relevance  The results of this study support the directional association between screen time and child development. Recommendations include encouraging family media plans, as well as managing screen time, to offset the potential consequences of excess use."...


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Associations Between Screen-Based Media Use and Brain White Matter Integrity in Preschool-Aged Children // Hutton, Dudley, & Horowitz-Kraus (2019) // Neurology, JAMA Pediatrics

Associations Between Screen-Based Media Use and Brain White Matter Integrity in Preschool-Aged Children // Hutton, Dudley, & Horowitz-Kraus (2019) // Neurology, JAMA Pediatrics | Screen Time, Tech Safety & Harm Prevention Research |

Importance The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends limits on screen-based media use, citing its cognitive-behavioral risks. Screen use by young children is prevalent and increasing, although its implications for brain development are unknown.

Objective  To explore the associations between screen-based media use and integrity of brain white matter tracts supporting language and literacy skills in preschool-aged children.

Design, Setting, and Participants
  This cross-sectional study of healthy children aged 3 to 5 years (n = 47) was conducted from August 2017 to November 2018. Participants were recruited at a US children’s hospital and community primary care clinics.

  Children completed cognitive testing followed by diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), and their parent completed a ScreenQ survey.

Main Outcomes and Measures
  ScreenQ is a 15-item measure of screen-based media use reflecting the domains in the AAP recommendations: access to screens, frequency of use, content viewed, and coviewing. Higher scores reflect greater use. ScreenQ scores were applied as the independent variable in 3 multiple linear regression models, with scores in 3 standardized assessments as the dependent variable, controlling for child age and household income: Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing, Second Edition (CTOPP-2; Rapid Object Naming subtest); Expressive Vocabulary Test, Second Edition (EVT-2; expressive language); and Get Ready to Read! (GRTR; emergent literacy skills). The DTI measures included fractional anisotropy (FA) and radial diffusivity (RD), which estimated microstructural organization and myelination of white matter tracts. ScreenQ was applied as a factor associated with FA and RD in whole-brain regression analyses, which were then narrowed to 3 left-sided tracts supporting language and emergent literacy abilities.

Results  Of the 69 children recruited, 47 (among whom 27 [57%] were girls, and the mean [SD] age was 54.3 [7.5] months) completed DTI. Mean (SD; range) ScreenQ score was 8.6 (4.8; 1-19) points. Mean (SD; range) CTOPP-2 score was 9.4 (3.3; 2-15) points, EVT-2 score was 113.1 (16.6; 88-144) points, and GRTR score was 19.0 (5.9; 5-25) points. ScreenQ scores were negatively correlated with EVT-2 (F2,43 = 5.14; R2 = 0.19; P < .01), CTOPP-2 (F2,35 = 6.64; R2 = 0.28; P < .01), and GRTR (F2,44 = 17.08; R2 = 0.44; P < .01) scores, controlling for child age. Higher ScreenQ scores were correlated with lower FA and higher RD in tracts involved with language, executive function, and emergent literacy abilities (P < .05, familywise error–corrected), controlling for child age and household income.

Conclusions and Relevance  This study found an association between increased screen-based media use, compared with the AAP guidelines, and lower microstructural integrity of brain white matter tracts supporting language and emergent literacy skills in prekindergarten children. The findings suggest further study is needed, particularly during the rapid early stages of brain development.


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Long-Term Symptoms of Mobile Phone Use on Mobile Phone Addiction and Depression Among Korean Adolescents // Int'l Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 

Long-Term Symptoms of Mobile Phone Use on Mobile Phone Addiction and Depression Among Korean Adolescents // Int'l Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health  | Screen Time, Tech Safety & Harm Prevention Research |


This study aimed to compare the mean scores of mobile phone use, mobile phone addiction, and depressive symptoms at three-time points among Korean adolescents according to gender and to examine the differences in the long-term relationships among the three above mentioned variables between Korean boys and girls in a four-year period. Data for 1794 adolescents (897 boys and 897 girls) were obtained from three waves of the second panel of the Korean Children and Youth Panel Survey. Multi group structural equation modeling was used for data analyses.

The study findings showed that at each of the three-time points, Korean girls tended to use their mobile phones more frequently and were at a higher risk of mobile phone addiction and depressive symptoms than Korean boys. Significant changes were observed in the longitudinal relationships among phone use, mobile phone addiction, and depressive symptoms in Korean adolescents across time periods, but no gender differences were found in the strengths of these relationships. These findings contribute to expanding the knowledge base of mobile phone addiction and depressive symptoms among Korean adolescents."


Korean adolescents; depression; mobile phone addiction; mobile phone use


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Technoference: Longitudinal Associations Between Parent Technology Use, Parenting Stress, and Child Behavior Problems // McDaniel & Radesky, Pediatric Research 2018

Background and objectives
Heavy parent digital technology use has been associated with suboptimal parent–child interactions and internalizing/externalizing child behavior, but directionality of associations is unclear. This study aims to investigate longitudinal bidirectional associations between parent technology use and child behavior, and understand whether this is mediated by parenting stress.


Participants included 183 couples with a young child (age 0–5 years, mean = 3.0 years) who completed surveys at baseline, 1, 3 and 6 months. Cross-lagged structural equation models of parent technology interference during parent–child activities, parenting stress, and child externalizing and internalizing behavior were tested.


Controlling for potential confounders, we found that across all time points (1) greater child externalizing behavior predicted greater technology interference, via greater parenting stress; and (2) technology interference often predicted greater externalizing behavior. Although associations between child internalizing behavior and technology interference were relatively weaker, bidirectional associations were more consistent for child withdrawal behaviors.


Our results suggest bidirectional dynamics in which (a) parents, stressed by their child’s difficult behavior, may then withdraw from parent–child interactions with technology and (b) this higher technology use during parent–child interactions may influence externalizing and withdrawal behaviors over time."


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Advertisers Abandon YouTube Over Concerns That Pedophiles Lurk In Comments Section // NPR National Public Radio 

Advertisers Abandon YouTube Over Concerns That Pedophiles Lurk In Comments Section // NPR National Public Radio  | Screen Time, Tech Safety & Harm Prevention Research |


"Editor's note: This story contains content that may be upsetting to some readers.


Big brands are pulling their ads off YouTube over concerns that potential sexual predators are gathering in the comment sections of videos featuring children. In response, YouTube has deleted more than 400 channels and suspended comments on tens of millions of videos as it tries to purge the system of pedophiles.


The controversy emerged after a former YouTube content creator described what he called a "soft-core pedophile ring" on the site. Pedophiles are communicating with each other in the comments and trading links to illegal pornography, Matt Watson said in a video posted this week that has been viewed millions of times.


"They're providing links to actual child porn in YouTube comments," he said. "They're trading unlisted videos in secret. And YouTube's algorithm, through some kind of glitch or error in its programming, is actually facilitating their ability to do this."


Earlier this week, Disney, Nestle and Epic Games — which makes Fortnite — pulled their ads from YouTube, which is owned by Google. AT&T and Hasbro followed suit.


"Until Google can protect our brand from offensive content of any kind, we are removing all advertising from YouTube," AT&T said in a statement, according to AdAge.


The controversy highlights the difficulty that major Internet content companies often have patrolling user-generated content, which can stream in at an incredible pace. A YouTube spokesman told TechCrunch that around 400 hours of video are uploaded each minute. The company has around 10,000 human reviewers who analyze content that's been flagged as inappropriate.


YouTube executives are scrambling to reassure companies that YouTube is doing everything it can to protect children. "Child safety has been and remains our #1 priority at YouTube," YouTube said in a memo sent to major brands, AdWeek reported. YouTube this week suspended comments on millions of videos that "are likely innocent but could be subject to predatory comments," the memo said.


Some of the children in the videos look to be as young as 5 years old, according to a Wired magazine report.


In his video critique, Watson describes how he says the pedophile ring works: YouTube visitors gather on videos of young girls doing innocuous things, such as putting on their makeup, demonstrating gymnastics moves or playing Twister. In the comment section, people would then post timestamps that link to frames in the video that appear to sexualize the children.


YouTube's algorithms would then recommend other videos also frequented by pedophiles. "Once you enter into this wormhole, now there is no other content available," Watson said.


"And of course, there is advertising on some of these videos," he said, showing examples of ads. His video was titled: "Youtube is Facilitating the Sexual Exploitation of Children, and it's Being Monetized."... 


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Lawsuit Filed Against Apple, Samsung After Chicago Tribune Tests Cellphones for Radiofrequency Radiation // Chicago Tribune 

Lawsuit Filed Against Apple, Samsung After Chicago Tribune Tests Cellphones for Radiofrequency Radiation // Chicago Tribune  | Screen Time, Tech Safety & Harm Prevention Research |

By Joe Mahr

"A group of lawyers has filed a federal class-action lawsuit against Apple and Samsung, citing a Tribune investigation that tested popular cellphones for radiofrequency radiation and found some results over the federal exposure limit.

The lawsuit — filed Friday in California, Illinois and Iowa — alleges that the phone makers “intentionally misrepresented" the safety of their devices, assuring users that the phones had been adequately tested and “were safe to use on and in close proximity to their bodies.”

The complaint, which alleges “negligence, breach of warranty, consumer fraud and unjust enrichment,” seeks an unspecified amount of money and medical monitoring for anyone who bought an iPhone 7, iPhone 8, iPhone X, Galaxy S8, Galaxy S9 or Galaxy J3.

The Tribune commissioned tests of 11 models of cellphones made by four companies, including the six models mentioned in the suit. The newspaper stated that the intention was not to rank phone models for safety and noted it was not possible to say whether any of the devices tested could cause harm.


But the tests, conducted according to federal guidelines at an accredited lab, found that radiofrequency radiation from some models operating at full power measured over the exposure limit set by the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC said it would pursue its own testing after the agency reviewed the Tribune’s lab reports.

Before any phone model can be brought to market, a sample must be tested for compliance with the exposure limit for radiofrequency radiation. In one phase of Tribune’s testing, the phones were positioned at the same distance from a simulated human body as the manufacturers chose for their premarket tests — between 5 and 15 millimeters, depending on the model.


In this phase, all three Samsung phones tested measured under the safety limit. Results varied for Apple phones, but several iPhone 7s were tested and all results exceeded the limit.


The Tribune also tested all the phone models at a consistent and closer distance of 2 millimeters, to estimate the potential exposure for an owner using the phone in a pants or shirt pocket.


In that phase of testing, most of the models tested yielded results that were over the exposure limit, sometimes far exceeding it. At 2 millimeters, the results from the three Samsungs and several iPhone models — again, operating at full power — were higher than the standard.


Two days after the Tribune published its investigation, the lawsuit was filed in U.S. district court in San Jose, California, alleging that Apple and Samsung “market and sell some of the most popular smartphones in the world ... as emitting less RF radiation” than the legal limit.



The suit was filed by three firms with lawyers experienced with class-action lawsuits, including Chicago law firm Fegan Scott. One of its lawyers, Elizabeth Fegan, represents alleged victims of disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein and has worked on cases alleging that the NCAA mishandled student-athlete concussions and that the city of Chicago’s work on water pipes has increased the risks of lead poisoning.


Representatives with Apple and Samsung did not return emails seeking comment.


Apple previously has disputed the Tribune’s results, saying the lab used by the newspaper did not test the phones the same way it does. Apple and Samsung both have told the Tribune their phones comply with federal standards.


The lawsuit argues that recent research has shown radiofrequency radiation exposure "affects living organisms at levels well below most international and national guidelines.”


“Thus," the suit claims, “defendants’ design, manufacture, and sale of smartphones that far exceed federal guidelines exacerbates the health risks to Plaintiffs and the Classes.”


High levels of radiofrequency radiation can heat biological tissue and cause harm. Less understood is whether people, especially children, are at risk for health effects from exposure to low levels over many years of cellphone use."...


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The Challenges of Defining and Studying “Digital Addiction” in Children // Journal of the American Medical Association 

The Challenges of Defining and Studying “Digital Addiction” in Children // Journal of the American Medical Association  | Screen Time, Tech Safety & Harm Prevention Research |

"In the 2013 edition, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fifth Edition) (DSM-5) identified “internet gaming disorder” as “a condition in need of further study.”1 The World Health Organization recognized “gaming disorder” as a diagnosable condition in the International Statistical Classification of Diseases, Eleventh Revision (ICD-11).2 The appellation—gaming disorder—is a misnomer because it does not include social media or nongaming applications. Still the emerging phenomenon of “digital addiction” represents a real and potential widespread problem that defies easy solutions or prevention strategies.

Scientific consensus suggests that addictions arise from a combination of a genetic predisposition and repeated exposure to a specific substrate.3 


In the case of digital addiction, the exposure is ubiquitous, unavoidable, and in some cases the use of digital devices is mandated. Some preschools use iPads in classrooms; many schools require children to use computers for their work; most employers not only rely on internet use during the day but also expect employees to have ready access to digital media outside of work hours. In a recent report of a nationally representative study of sedentary behavior, the estimated prevalence of computer use outside of school or work for more than 1 hour per day or more among children aged 5 through 11 years increased from 43% to 56% from 2001 to 2016, and among adolescents aged 12 through 19 years increased from 53% to 57% from 2003 to 2016.4


For those trying to study the effects of media on child development, this poses vexing challenges. Avoiding digital media is impractical and undesirable. It stands to reason that there is appropriate and beneficial usage, but what might constitute too much of a good thing?

The relationship between biological exposures and outcomes can follow one of many functional forms. Most straightforward is a monotonically linear relationship in which outcomes are directly and proportionately related to exposure, such as with a high-fat diet and weight gain.5 Often, there is a dose-response relationship in which no discernable effect is observed until some critical threshold is crossed, after which there is a clear relationship over a dosage range and when no additional benefits are derived and at even higher doses harm may result. This is usually the case for pharmaceuticals.

Less common, and perhaps most challenging to discern, is the “inverted U” relationship in which both low and high exposure are associated with less desirable outcomes, but for some middle level, outcomes are improved. Such is the relationship between alcohol consumption and health in which those who consume no or very little alcohol appear to have poorer health outcomes than those who consume 7 to 14 units of alcohol per week.6 The nature of this relationship took many years to establish in part because of the odd functional form (U shape). Such is likely the relationship between media exposure and health. A recent meta-analysis7 found that adolescents with heavy and no social media usage have diminished mental health compared with those with moderate usage. Specifically, compared with nonusers, children with 1 hour per day of media use had a 12% reduced risk of depression. With 3 hours they had a 19% increased risk, and at 5 hours it was increased by 80%.7 But the relationship is in many ways infinitely more complex than the one between alcohol and health.

Except for the potentially unique effects of some polyphenols found in red wine, alcohol researchers can distill their exposure of interest—alcohol—into discrete units so that drinkers can easily be categorized without regard to their libation of choice. An analogous approach is being used in most media studies in which usage is defined solely in terms of time spent on various devices (eg, smartphones, computers) or in certain activities (eg, social media or games). Media usage as a predictor variable belies the reality that content drives any observed effects.

It is not as simple as time spent on a device or activity but rather how that time is spent that matters. Therein lies the challenge. Disentangling the complicated effects of media usage to establish guidelines that can inform public policy and industry regulations requires a fine level of granularity. Even drawing distinctions between social media vs passive viewing or gaming is inadequate. For example, 1 hour of social media usage could be spent in an online support group. For an LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) teen, such a community can be an invaluable and otherwise unavailable supportive resource, but for a teen with an eating disorder that social media exposure may normalize and even encourage the behavior.


Traditionally, media researchers have relied on retrospective self-report or contemporaneous diaries to assess exposure. These tools are antiquated and do not capture the many and varied uses of media today particularly given the frequency of multitasking. How can parents of a middle schooler possibly reliably recount their child’s use of recreational screen time given that many children and adolescents carry a device in their pocket at all times and use it to communicate, play games, and do homework? How could teenagers estimate their screen time given the hundreds of times they check their phone during the day even for a few seconds, never mind informing scientists of what precisely they looked at? Coupled with individual characteristics, these data are crucial to further understanding of the true relationship between nature and substrate that define healthy media usage.


While researchers have struggled to find methods to reliably collect these data, industry has been capturing them, using them, and even monetizing them. Facebook has information on what children see, how long they look at it, and even how they feel about it. Apple indicates it does not have data on where children spend their time on its devices (Fred Sainz, director of corporate communications, Apple, email communication, May 21, 2019). Although its “screen time app” collects data on how children spend their time on the device and shares those data with parents, it does not currently facilitate exporting or sharing data with researchers. In fact, Apple has taken the additional step of blocking the third-party screen-time trackers many researchers use since those trackers compete with theirs.8


As media conglomerates face increasing scrutiny by politicians and regulators for their harvesting of data and their dissemination of misinformation, they should consider collaborating with impartial scientists so that they can begin to understand how to mediate media in the best interest of children. If these companies are willing to share data with advertisers, they also should be willing to share them with academic scientists. Without their cooperation, child advocates may never get the answers they need to understand digital media use by children and develop effective measures to prevent and counteract “digital addiction” in children."

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Presentation Slides from Dr. Joel Moskowitz Keynote, Feb. 27th, 2019, Director of Center for Family and Community Health // School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley 

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What are small cell facilities, and why are they in the public rights-of-way? // Bradley Law

What are small cell facilities, and why are they in the public rights-of-way? // Bradley Law | Screen Time, Tech Safety & Harm Prevention Research |

By Vince Rotty

On September 27, 2018, the FCC released a declaratory ruling and report and order (available here). This post has been updated to reflect the FCC’s new regulations.



A small wireless facility (sometimes referred to as a small cell facility) is a cellular network facility capable of delivering high transmission speeds but at lower ranges. Although they are called “small,” this is in reference to their small coverage area, not their physical size. These facilities, due to their heightened transmission speeds and capacities, are critical to the wireless industry’s deployment of 5G services. However, because a small wireless facility, when compared to a traditional macrocell tower, is only able to transmit data at low ranges and is not capable of transmitting through buildings and other structures, many more small wireless facilities are needed to cover the same geographic area that a single, traditional macrocell tower would cover. It is estimated that each wireless provider will need at least ten times as many small wireless facilities as macrocell towers to provide the same network coverage.[1]



Wireless service providers and wireless infrastructure providers will seek to collocate small wireless facilities and construct wireless support structures in a municipality’s rights-of-ways for a number of reasons, but one of the primary reasons is that small wireless facilities require two resources: (1) data via fiber optic cable and (2) power, and both of these resources are often found in a municipality’s rights-of-way.

Additionally, many states have enacted statutes that, among other things, limit rights-of-way and permit application fees that a municipality can collect from a wireless service provider or wireless infrastructure provider and create statutory review periods for small wireless facility permit applications.[2] Often, utility poles and wireless support structures owned by private entities are exempt from these state statutes, further prompting wireless providers and wireless infrastructure providers to prefer to collocate small wireless facilities to existing municipal assets in the municipality’s rights-of-way.[3]


In addition to traditional wireless providers, neutral host and other infrastructure providers are also expected to play a critical role in the deployment of small wireless facilities. Neutral host and other infrastructure providers will often lease their wireless assets to traditional wireless providers. As a result, your municipality might not receive any permit requests of applications for collocating small wireless facilities or constructing wireless support structures from traditional wireless providers such as AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint. Instead, your municipality may be receiving permit requests and applications from neutral host providers such as ExteNet and Mobilitie.


Not all small wireless facilities are created equal. While wireless providers and wireless infrastructure providers may initially propose to construct facilities that are integrated into light poles, monopoles, traffic signals, and other existing rights-of-way structures or assets, the reality is that your municipality should expect that very few small wireless facilities will be constructed in this manner. For example, a light pole with a pole-top antenna and integrated equipment cabinet is shown below. As can be seen in the below image, there are almost no exposed elements or cables, and there is only a minimal intrusion into the rights-of-way. The rights-of-way in the below image appears to be largely undisturbed by the small wireless facility integrated into the light pole.



However, in reality, many small wireless facilities are likely to be collocated on existing wooden utility poles. Because these existing utility poles are almost universally incapable of integrating equipment cabinets within the pole’s base, as is in the above image, wireless service providers and wireless infrastructure providers will instead install equipment cabinets at ground level or mount the cabinets to utility poles in the rights-of-way. These facilities can create safety, aesthetic, and noise issues, including violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“the ADA”).

An example of a non-integrated small wireless facility is shown below. As can be seen in the below image, the small wireless facility extends beyond the wooden utility pole, the cabling is loose, and there are equipment cabinets mounted at the top of the pole.



These rights-of-way impacts and concerns are compounded by the increased number of small wireless facilities necessary to operate a small cell network. Regulating how and when small wireless facilities can be collocated in your municipality’s rights-of-way is key to addressing a municipality’s concerns such as safety, noise, aesthetic, and undergrounding of ground-level facilities.


When a municipality receives a permit request or application to collocate a small wireless facility or construct a wireless support structure, there are three sources of law that must be followed: (1) federal law, (2) state law, and (3) local law.

A.     Federal Law

In 2018, the FCC issued a declaratory ruling and report and order addressing how municipalities must process small wireless facility applications.[4] A small wireless facility application is an application for a permit or other authorization that seeks to either: (1) collocate a small wireless facility on an existing structure or (2) collocate a small wireless facility on a new structure (i.e., construction of a new structure to collocate a small wireless facility).[5] The primary difference between these two types of small wireless facility applications is the number of days that a municipality is allowed to process the application (shown below).

Type of Permit Request Review Period Remedy Collocation on an existing structure 60 days Judicial Cause of Action Collocation on a new structure 90 days Judicial Cause of Action

If a municipality fails to grant or deny an application within either of these review periods, the applicant may appeal the municipality’s failure to act to an applicable court.[6] Unlike Section 6409(a) applications, there is no deemed granted remedy for small wireless facility applications.[7] A deemed granted remedy means that an application is automatically granted if a municipality fails to act on the application.

For more information on the details and impacts of federal law, please consult your legal counsel or the attorneys at Bradley Berkland Hagen & Herbst LLC.

B.      State Law

After determining how to process a permit application or request under federal law, a municipality should next examine their state law. Often, state small wireless facility statutes will reduce review periods, limit the criteria by which a permit can be denied, and limit fees that municipalities can charge. A list of states that have passed small wireless facility laws can be found here. In short, state small wireless facility statutes are rarely, if ever, helpful for local governments. Instead, these statutes almost invariably limit municipal authority. For example, Oklahoma’s small wireless facility statute reduces the 90-day review period in federal law to 75-days and limits fees to $40 per small wireless facility collocated on a municipally-owned utility pole in the rights-of-way.[8] If your state has enacted a small wireless facility statute, it will be important to understand the restrictions and limitations placed on your municipality by state law in addition to federal law.

If your municipality is in a state that hasn’t passed small wireless facility-specific legislation, your municipality should nevertheless look for any processes or requirements that apply generally to wireless towers. These statutes were likely enacted with macrocell towers in mind but are often applicable to small wireless facilities.

C.      Local Law

Finally, your municipality should examine its local law to determine how to process an application. Many municipalities have passed ordinances governing the municipality’s rights-of-way or wireless towers, but some municipalities have passed small wireless facility ordinances as well. While no small wireless facility ordinance “may prohibit or have the effect of prohibiting the ability of any entity to provide any interstate or intrastate telecommunications service” (i.e., a prohibition on the collocation of small wireless facilities within a municipality), these ordinances do allow a municipality to enact aesthetic and design standards, undergrounding requirements, and other zoning restrictions.[9]

If your municipality has not already enacted a small wireless facility ordinance, please speak with an attorney at Bradley Berkland Hagen & Herbst to discuss how your community’s unique needs and interests can be addressed through an ordinance or other legal mechanisms."


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