Classlist Parents

How much is too much screen time? It’s a common question we see on the parent board.

Young boy reading tablet computer
At the moment there is no definitive advice for parents. However, Amy Orben – who is researching the effects of social media on human relationships at the University of Oxford – provides a really interesting summary of the debate in her recent article for BBC technology.


Referring to a 2017 study by the University of Oxford, Orben says:

“Among those teenagers who were the lightest users, it was found that increasing the time spent using technology was linked to improved wellbeing – possibly because it was important for keeping up friendships.”

“In contrast, among the heaviest users of technology, any increase in time was linked to lower levels of wellbeing.

“This effect, however, was small and only predicted 1% of a teenager’s wellbeing. The researchers suggested that the positive effect of regularly eating breakfast, or getting a proper night’s sleep, was three times stronger.”

This is surprising as we often hear how bad social media and screen time is for kids.

Orben points out the debate to date has been oversimplified and other studies are now looking in more depth at effect (positive or negative) of different types of online activity on kids – whether they spend the time interacting with friends or just flicking through their peer’s photos online for example.

This research can’t come too quickly for parents. Indeed, an inquiry into the impact of social media and screen use on young people’s health was announced last week by UK MPs.

At Classlist we believe in using tech for good and that technology can play a positive role in society. But, we certainly don’t believe all use of technology fits this criteria.

In our case we want to help connect busy families online to their school community however ultimately the aim is for this to lead to better real life interactions – coffee mornings, helping each other with school lifts, playdates and birthday parties, volunteering at the summer fair, checking out the details of the teenage party…

Anyway, the good news is it sounds like a little screen time will be okay for the kids while you are firing off a few important emails at the end of the day – providing you give them a good breakfast!

You can read the full article here: