Digital Screens and Youth Health

Digital Screens and Youth Health
Posted on 03/08/2024
Cell phone

Research has consistently shown that screen use can adversely affect youth health, such as weight and sleep.  Here are some statistics and suggestions when it comes to screens and health.

Physical activity

  • Encourage active video games and screen activities that promote physical activity.
  • Integrate physical activity and outside time away from screens throughout the day.
  • Try to use screens moderately (1-4 hours a day) as research shows that teens who are inactive tend to spend more time using screens.
  • Remind youth to pay attention to surroundings and limit distractions from screens or headphones when driving, walking, jogging, or biking.


  • Take breaks during screen time and have healthy food options offered to youth. Significant use of screens has been shown to increase levels of snacking and energy drinks, low rates of fruit and vegetable consumption and can suppress satiety signals (the part of your brain that tells you that you are full and should stop eating).


  • Quality sleep is an important factor to encourage learning, memory, mood and behaviour. Try to remove screen devices in the bedroom as they can interfere with sleep duration and quality.
  • Reduce screen use before bedtime. Screen activity can inhibit melatonin release and disrupt sleep rhythms.

Mental Health

  • Research has shown that social media use can have a negative impact on how young people perceive themselves and their appearance, increase feelings of anxiety, and body image concerns. To improve youth’s mental health related to social media, consider the following:
    • Encourage youth to nurture friendships offline in addition to on social media.
    • Reduce time online, consider cleansing feeds of influencers or brands that make adolescence feel negative about their self-image.
    • Encourage youth to feel and express gratitude and mindfulness to battle the discontent sometimes generated by social media.
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