10/24/2012 02:39 pm ET Updated Mar 14, 2013

Screen Sense: Studies And Reports About Babies, Big Kids And Teens Using Technology

Should you worry about social media? Do video games affect focus? Are screens really harmful? It can be difficult to sort through all the information being thrown at you about children and technology, so we've compiled studies from sources like Common Sense Media, Pediatrics the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Pew Research Center dating back to 2010 below. We will update this page as new research is released, and we will post related content -- personal stories, news reports and more -- on our Screen Sense page. Be sure to check both regularly and join the conversation about these evolving issues.

March 2013
Title: Teens and Technology
Source: Pew Research Center
Gist: "Fully 95% of teens are online, a percentage that has been consistent since 2006. Yet, the nature of teens’ internet use has transformed dramatically during that time ... Teens are just as likely to have a cell phone as they are to have a desktop or laptop computer. And increasingly these phones are affording teens always-on, mobile access to the internet — in some cases, serving as their primary point of access."

February 2013
Title: Preschoolers Can Learn Great Things From TV
Source: Huffington Post (to read the actual study, visit Pediatrics -- subscription required)
Gist: "New research out today by Dr Christakis finds that putting our time and energy into working to improve what our children watch, not just how much they watch, can have a positive impact on their behavior -- even for children as young as 3 years of age."

Title: Media and Violence: An Analysis of Current Research
Source: Common Sense Media
Gist: "While longitudinal research does allow us to speak in terms of a 'causal' relationship, it is probably more accurate and useful to think about media violence as a 'risk factor' rather than a 'cause' of violence — one variable among many that increases the risk of violent behavior among some children."

January 2013
Title: Screen time not linked to kids' physical activity
Source: Reuters (to read the actual study, visit JAMA Pediatrics -- log-in required)
Gist: "[R]esearchers said the new study backs up earlier findings showing too much screen time and not enough exercise may be separate issues that parents and schools need to address independently."

December 2012
Title: How Families Interact on Facebook
Source: Facebook
Gist: "We investigated anonymized and automatically processed posts and comments by people self-identified as parents and children to understand how conversation patterns with each other might be a bit different from those with their other friends."

November 2012
Title: Parents, Teens, and Online Privacy
Source: Pew Research Center
Gist: "Most parents of teenagers are concerned about what their teenage children do online and how their behavior could be monitored by others. Some parents are taking steps to observe, discuss, and check up on their children’s digital footprints."

Title: Public Supports Expanded Internet Safety Requirements to Protect Kids
Source: C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health
Gist: "In this Poll, nearly two out of three adults expressed strong support for proposed COPPA updates, including requiring apps designed for kids to confirm that users are at least 13 and prohibiting apps from collecting personal information from users under age 13."

Title: The Online Generation Gap
Source: Family Online Safety Institute
Gist: "These surveys indicate that teens’ concerns about their online safety parallel parents’ concerns more closely than parents realize and that many teens are taking steps to protect their privacy and personal information. Nonetheless, teens suggest that parents are not as informed about what their teens do online as parents think they are, and some teens are taking risks by providing personal information to strangers online."

Title: Children, Teens, and Entertainment Media: The View From The Classroom
Source: Common Sense Media
Gist: "America’s teachers -- whether they are long-time classroom veterans or young, tech-savvy ones, at wealthy schools or low-income schools, public or private, elementary or high school -- surface relatively consistent concerns: Students are having issues with their attention span, writing, and face-to-face communication, and, in the experience of teachers, children’s media use is contributing to the problem. On the plus side, teachers find that young people’s facility with media is helping them find information quickly and multitask more effectively."

Title: How Teens Do Research in the Digital World
Source: Pew Research Center
Gist: "Three-quarters of AP [Advanced Placement] and NWP [National Writing Project] teachers say that the internet and digital search tools have had a 'mostly positive' impact on their students’ research habits, but 87% say these technologies are creating an 'easily distracted generation with short attention spans' and 64% say today’s digital technologies 'do more to distract students than to help them academically.'"

June 2012
Title: Social Media, Social Life: How Teens View Their Digital Lives
Source: Common Sense Media
Gist: "Three out of four teens have social networking sites, and half of all teens are on their sites on a daily basis. But despite our concerns about social media, in the vast majority of cases, these media do not appear to be causing great tumult in teenagers’ lives."

March 2012
Title: Teens, Smartphones and Texting: Texting Volume Is Up While Frequency of Voice Calling Is Down
Source: Pew Research Center
Gist: “The volume of texting among teens has risen from 50 texts a day in 2009 to 60 texts for the median teen text user. The frequency of teens' phone chatter with friends - on cell phones and landlines - has fallen. But the heaviest texters are also the heaviest talkers with their friends.”

February 2012
Title: Impact of an Active Video Game on Healthy Children’s Physical Activity
Source: Pediatrics
Gist: "There was no evidence that children receiving the active video games were more active in general, or at anytime, than children receiving the inactive video games."

November 2011
Title: Teens, Kindness And Cruelty on Social Network Sites: How American Teens Navigate the New World of “Digital Citizenship”
Source: Pew Research Center
Gist: “As social media use has become pervasive in the lives of American teens, a new study finds that 69% of the teenagers who use social networking sites say their peers are mostly kind to one another on such sites. Still, 88% of these teens say they have witnessed people being mean and cruel to another person on the sites, and 15% report that they have been the target of mean or cruel behavior on social network sites.”

Title: Preschool-Aged Children’s Television Viewing in Child Care Settings
Source: Pediatrics
Gist: “We found that children in as many as 70% of home-based child care settings and 36% of center-based child care settings watch television daily. More importantly, when television is viewed at all, infants and children spend 2 to 3 hours watching in home-based programs and ~1.5 hours watching in center-based programs.”

October 2011
Title: Media Use by Children Younger Than 2 Years
Source: Pediatrics
Gist: “This updated policy statement provides further evidence that media—both foreground and background—have potentially negative effects and no known positive effects for children younger than 2 years. Thus, the AAP reaffirms its recommendation to discourage media use in this age group. This statement also discourages the use of background television intended for adults when a young child is in the room.”

Title: Zero to Eight: Children's Media Use in America
Source: Common Sense Media
Gist: "Nine-month-olds spend nearly an hour a day watching television or DVDs, 5-year-olds are begging to play with their parents’ iPhones, and 7-year-olds are sitting down in front of a computer several times a week to play games, do homework, or check out how their avatars are doing in their favorite virtual worlds. Television is still as popular as ever, but reading may be beginning to trend downward. Having an accurate understanding of the role of media in children’s lives is essential for all of those concerned about promoting healthy child development: parents, educators, pediatricians, public health advocates, and policymakers, to name just a few."

July 2011
Title: Cell Phone Study ‘Misleading’: Children May Still Be At Increased Cancer Risk, Experts Say
Source: The Huffington Post
Gist: “[E]xperts have some serious concerns regarding the methods and conclusions of the first study evaluating the connection between cell phone radiation and brain cancer in children and teens. Not only was the study flawed, they note, but it was also financially supported by the cell phone industry.”

October 2010
Title: Children's Screen Viewing Is Related to Psychological Difficulties Irrespective of Physical Activity
Source: Pediatrics
Gist: “This study found that greater television and computer use was related to greater psychological difficulties, independent of gender, age, level of deprivation, pubertal status, and objectively measured physical activity and
sedentary time.”

July 2010
Title: Television and Video Game Exposure and the Development of Attention Problems
Source: Pediatrics
Gist: "Viewing television and playing video games each are associated with increased subsequent attention problems in childhood. It seems that a similar association among television, video games, and attention problems exists in late adolescence and early adulthood."

April 2010
Title: Teens, Cell Phones and Texting: Text Messaging Becomes Centerpiece Communication
Source: Pew Research Center
Gist: “Fully two-thirds of teen texters say they are more likely to use their cell phones to text their friends than talk to them to them by cell phone.”

January 2010
Title: Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-Year-Olds
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation
Gist: “Today, 8-18 year-olds devote an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes (7:38) to using entertainment media across a typical day (more than 53 hours a week). And because they spend so much of that time ‘media multitasking’ (using more than one medium at a time), they actually manage to pack a total of 10 hours and 45 minutes (10:45) worth of media content into those 7½ hours.”