Screen time and young people’s mental health and psychosocial wellbeing

Senior medical officers’ release recommendations and advice for parents and carers regarding screen time and children and young people’s mental health and psychosocial wellbeing | Department of Health and Social Care

In 2018, the UK Chief Medical Officers commissioned independent researchers to map published research on screen time, social media, and children and young people’s mental health.  This research was published in January 2019 in the report Screen-based activities and children and young people’s mental health and psychosocial wellbeing: a systematic map of reviews , and today The Department of Health and Social Care have published the UK Chief Medical Officers’ (CMO) commentary on this research.

In the document, the CMOs said, in the UK most children and young people had grown up with internet-enabled technology in their home or school. Many had early access to smartphones and similar devices that can be used outside the home or school.

The internet and social media could be a force for good in society, said the CMOs, as they helped to promote social contact and children could access advice, education, support and information, while apps were increasingly being used to help young people manage health conditions and access online learning.

However, at the same time, parents and carers, children and educational professionals, health professionals, academics and politicians had expressed concern that the amount of time children spent engaged in screen-based activities could be detrimental to their physical and mental health.

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What does the guidance recommend parents do?

There are several recommendations for parents, which the chief medical officers say will help keep children safe and healthy.

These include:

  • not using phones and mobile devices at the dinner table – talking as a family is very important for development
  • keeping screens out of the bedroom at bedtime
  • talking as a family about keeping safe online and about cyber-bulling and what children should do if they are worried
  • not using phones when crossing a road or doing any other activity that requires a person’s full attention
  • making sure children take a break from screens every two hours by getting up and being active
  • policing their own use too – parents should give their children proper attention and quality family time and never assume they are happy for pictures to be shared

Full document: UK Chief Medical Officers’ (CMO) commentary on ‘Screen-based activities and children and young people’s mental health and psychosocial wellbeing: a systematic map of reviews’

Original review: Screen-based activities and children and young people’s mental health and psychosocial wellbeing: a systematic map of reviews

Related:

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One of the largest mental health trials launches in schools

Department for Education, Department of Health and Social Care, The Rt Hon Damian Hinds MP, and The Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP | January 2019 | Up to 370 schools to join one of the largest trials in the world to boost the evidence about what works to support mental health and wellbeing

To mark Children’s Mental Health Week this week (4-10 February), the Education Secretary Damian Hinds announces that up to 370 schools in England will take part in a series of trials testing different approaches to supporting young people’s mental health.

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Children will benefit from mindfulness exercises, relaxation techniques and breathing exercises to help them regulate their emotions, alongside pupil sessions with mental health experts. The study will run until 2021 and aims to give schools new, robust evidence about what works best for their students’ mental health and wellbeing.

Mr Hinds also confirmed the nine areas across the country that will trial new high-quality mental health assessments for young people entering care, helping them get the support they need to meet their individual needs at a time when they are more vulnerable.

Led by the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families in partnership with University College London, the school study is now in its second wave and recruiting more primary and secondary schools to join.

The trials are designed to explore the impact of different approaches at school, in recognition of the significant time children spend at school and the important role teachers can play in recognising changes in pupils’ behaviour or mood (Source: Department for Education, Department of Health and Social Care, The Rt Hon Damian Hinds MP, and The Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP).

Read the full news story here

Local leadership and accountability For children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing services

Local Government Association | October 2018 | Local leadership and accountability
For children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing services

The Local Government Association (LGA) highlights case studies where 10 areas have improved their children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing services . LGA’s research explores how 10 areas, from across the country, have  improved their services through better leadership and accountability and by putting
young people centre stage (Source: LGA).

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Image source: local.gov.uk

 

Local leadership and accountability For children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing services

Read the press release here 

Mental health in schools

Make it count: Policy briefing | The Mental Health Foundation

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Image source: http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk

This document sets out the Mental Health Foundation’s policy to put mental health and wellbeing at the heart of children’s school experience.  Alongside this briefing, the following guides have been published:

Full policy briefing at Mental Health Foundation

Social media impacts on young people’s wellbeing need to be better understood, says Centre for Mental Health

Centre for Mental Health | September 2018 | Social media impacts on young people’s wellbeing need to be better understood, says Centre for Mental Health

The Centre for Mental Health have produced a new briefing paper, Social media, young people and mental health, the paper looks at evidence about the impact of social media use on the mental health of young people. It finds that while many studies have focused on the risks and potential harm caused by social media use, there is also evidence of potential benefits. And only by building a three-dimensional picture of the many ways young people interact with social media will we be able to reduce the risks and make the most of the opportunities they present (Source:  The Centre for Mental Health).

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Download Social media, young people and mental health here 

Related: Rhys Edwards [Author of briefing] Anxiety, loneliness and Fear of Missing Out: The impact of social media on young people’s mental health

One in four 14-year-old girls self-harm, reports Children’s Society

The Children’s Society | August 2018 | The Good Childhood Report 2018

Every year The Children’s Society produces a wellbeing report, a comprehensive report into children’s wellbeing to hear what children have to say about their lives, what makes them happy and what needs to be improved for this generation. 

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Image source: childrenssociety.org.uk

Key findings from the report:

  • Pressure to fit in with society’s expectations is making children unhappy
  • Alarming numbers of children are self-harming
  • Non-stop comments about appearance are harmful to girls’ well-being
  • Outdated gender stereotypes are damaging to boys’ and girls’ happiness
  • Family relationships are particularly important for girls

Children’s Society press release One in four 14-year-old girls self-harm

Read the full report at The Children’s Society

The Good Child Summary report  available here 

 

In the media:

BBC News Quarter of 14 year old girls self-harm 

The Telegraph Quarter of 14 year old girls self-harm, study finds, amid warning of ‘crisis in children’s mental health’ 

The Guardian Quarter of 14-year-old girls in UK have self-harmed, report finds

Social media and young people’s mental health and wellbeing

Royal Society for Public Health | May 2018| #StatusOfMind  Social media and Young people’s mental health and wellbeing

This report from Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) explores the positive and negative impact of social media on young people aged between 16-24, and their mental health and wellbeing. It also includes a league table of five social media platforms which have been ranked in order of their net impact on young people’s health and wellbeing by young people.

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Image source: .rsph.org.u

The RSPH calls for

  1. The introduction of a pop-up heavy usage warning on social media
  2. Social media platforms to highlight when photos of people have been digitally manipulated
  3. NHS England to apply the Information Standard Principles to health information published via social media
  4. Safe social media use to be taught during PSHE education in school
  5.  Social media platforms to identify users who could be suffering from mental health problems by their posts and other data, and discreetly signpost to support
  6. Youth-workers and other professionals who engage with young people to have a digital (including social) media component in their training
  7. More research to be carried out into the effects of social media on young people’s mental health

The report can be downloaded here