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The impact of digital technologies on health and wellbeing of children and adolescents
A narrative review

Published in the New Zealand Journal of Physiotherapy

 

In collaboration with other authors, this narrative review gives a broad overview of the impacts of digital technologies on eight areas of child and adolescent health, summarising the strength of evidence, and providing key recommendations to reduce risk. Including authors who are subject experts in their fields, this paper is relevant to educators and parents, as well has health professionals. To read more, click here.

Abstract

As the world digitises, children and adolescents are increasingly using digital technologies. These devices offer benefits such as exposure to social contacts and support, potential learning opportunities and access to health promotion material. However, along with these benefits, emerging evidence is indicating that frequent, extended use of digital devices is associated with negative impacts on the health and wellbeing of children and adolescents. There are many ways to use devices both for learning and recreation, so context of use is important when considering these impacts. As the pace of change unfolds, this narrative review provides an overview of the impacts of using digital technologies on the health and wellbeing of children and adolescents across eight areas: vision, hearing, obesity, pain, sleep, cognition, mental health, and social impacts. Key points summarise the current state of evidence with relating expert opinion on reducing the risk of harm, where indicated, with the aim to aid decision-making and risk intervention. Sources include global large-scale studies, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses. Physiotherapists, with a professional scope focusing on physical health, quality of life, health promotion and advocacy, are well positioned to support children and families, and to contribute to interventions aimed at reducing risk.

Cullen, J., Muntz, A., Marsh, S., Simmonds, L., Mayes, J., O’Neill, K., & Duncan, S. (2024). Impact of digital screen use on health and wellbeing of children and adolescents: A narrative review. New Zealand Journal of Physiotherapy, 52(1), 62–77. Retrieved from https://nzjp.org.nz/nzjp/article/view/364

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