Background: High quality, longitudinal data describing young people’s screen use across a number of distinct forms of screen activity is missing from the literature. This study tracked multiple screen use activities (passive screen use, gaming, social networking, web searching) amongst 10- to 17-year-old adolescents across 24 months.
Methods: This study tracked the screen use of 1,948 Australian students in Grade 5 (n=636), Grade 7 (n=672), and Grade 9 (n=640) for 24 months. At approximately six-month intervals, students reported their total screen time as well as time spent on social networking, passive screen use, gaming, and web use. Patterns of screen use were determined using latent growth curve modelling.
Results: In the Grades 7 and 9 cohorts, girls generally reported more screen use than boys (by approximately one hour a day), though all cohorts of boys reported more gaming. The different forms of screen use were remarkably stable, though specific cohorts showed change for certain forms of screen activity.
Conclusion: These results highlight the diverse nature of adolescent screen use and emphasise the need to consider both grade and sex in future research and policy.
- electronic screen use
- social media