Are Digital Screens Actually Bad For Kids?

From TVs to tablets, screens are ubiquitous in our modern society. What effect does that have on childhood development?

Hosted by: Brit Garner
Support SciShow by becoming a patron on Patreon:
Dooblydoo thanks go to the following Patreon supporters:
Kelly Landrum Jones, Sam Lutfi, Kevin Knupp, Nicholas Smith, D.A. Noe, alexander wadsworth, سلطا الخليفي, Piya Shedden, KatieMarie Magnone, Scott Satovsky Jr, Charles Southerland, Bader AlGhamdi, James Harshaw, Patrick Merrithew, Patrick D. Ashmore, Candy, Tim Curwick, charles george, Saul, Mark Terrio-Cameron, Viraansh Bhanushali, Kevin Bealer, Philippe von Bergen, Chris Peters, Justin Lentz
Looking for SciShow elsewhere on the internet?
  • SethMacMillan

    In regards to that button study, was it established the infants have the ability to transfer such knowledge at that age? It seems kind of like a matter of problem solving, which develops later in life.

  • Chordeiles Major

    well two things first i find it problematic that all forms of technology and screentime are mixed together. second i would like to add that the correlation of people using technology and ill-beeing could easily be the other way round. this could also be passed on to children by their parents. if they are stressed and not well and use the computer as a coping device they are probably more likely to unwillingly teach that to their children.

  • Brandi Neel

    I got here from the phone addiction video. Congrats, you got me. 😉

  • David Adams

    It would be great to see a product that kids could use screen-time to design a toy that is then printed out in the real world using a 3D printer. PLA plastic (a common 3D printer filament) is essentially food and non-toxic. The creative possibilities would be endless. Great video, Brit.

  • Rick Herz

    But, what about videogames? I used to think that I prefer the idea of my kid playing videogames and learning English, Coordination, Grammar structure, some kinesthetical abilities, and maybe nothing more, I don't know. But a tablet for a 7 year old kid just seems pretty useless to me.

  • alainspecteur1

    Are Digital Kids Actually Bad For Screens ?

  • sacr3

    Love this host, she isn't pushy, shes knowledgeable, well spoken and the way she explains and uses body movements to express the information is excellent. I'm glad she was chosen for this position.As for the video, I agree. Throwing your kids in front of a screen or buying them a little ipad is lazy parenting. Yea, its exhausting watching over your kids and tossing them in front of a screen so you can have you hour of silence is tempting - but thats the job of a parent, to raise and educate your child so they can be better than you, so they can succeed more than you, so they can just win at life.Parents typically reply to this stuff with anger and excuses because, well, its easier to get mad at people than it is to accept you're wrong, or you're doing it wrong. Also i'm not really too keen on studies where they just obtain information from parents via online or checklist. Parents will almost always lie about their kids health to make themselves feel better, lot wouldn't admit that they let their kids sit in front of screens for hours, that their kids are overweight, etc. They'll say things like "Well he/she plays outside! So they're active!" meanwhile the kid is overweight and simply sits outside and plays on their ipad. You want the best for yourself and society? Go the hard way, make yourself exhausted if you have too - its for the betterment of mankind.My generation was raised as little shits, give them everything, don't discipline, etc. Now look at society, its a huge mess/joke. We can do better.

  • LoudlyListening

    Correlation doesn't equal causation

  • Aron Estabillo

    Kids can't understand the correlation of virtual and physical button. That doesn't mean anything at all. It is just this is the first stimulus (button press) they are exposed to and thus will be accustomed to it. With age they will learn.

  • Edward Geist

    > They can't touch, smell, taste, or feel the weight of stuff if it's virtualSure, not yet ...But give it time.

  • Ryan McLean

    Seems like hat study failed to take into account that fact that a virtual button is a metaphorical representation of something in the real world. So thus real world translated over to virtual better than the other way. But what about teaching kids something where they already knew the real world representation but didn’t know how to do it?Seems like a dumb study

  • Kimminatrix

    I know plenty of people who use tv as a "baby sitter" and plop the kid in front of the tv for hours so they can have alone time or just to ignore their kids.Maybe its more on the parents unwillingness to do things with the kids then the tv itself. Parents should want to do stuff with their kids instead of letting the kid watch 8 hours of tv.

  • Jillianne Fanning

    Me: Yeah... I’m a teen watching this lol.Also, 2?! I wasn’t even talking until 3.

  • Franklin Lam

    I'm a bit confused about the conclusion given the data.If kids learn best on how to do things based on how they are taught (they know how to use technology better if they use technology, learn how to press a real button if someone demonstrates someone pressing a button in real life), AND the ubiquity of technology is ever accelerating, wouldn't kids be "wasting" their time learning how to do things in "real" life as opposed to digitally? Surely if the future has digital buttons on elevators and holodeck classrooms and conference rooms, isn't it better to have our children focus their time adapting to technology?

  • maiL reltuB

    Man im addictes to my phone i need help

  • Julia Prohaska

    Yay Nerdfighteria!! 3:35

  • Elliette M.

    I think that our generation will be more relaxed about our kids using technology. Parents are more strict about technology most likely are afraid. Internet, cellphones and other smart devices are all things they didn’t have when growing up and it hasn’t been around for a long time. Idk, just a thought

  • Cerulean Skigh

    I never hear any mention of correlation verses causation when people talk about technology use and mental well being. Are depressed and anxious people more likely to use technology to avoid distressing social interaction or does the tech cause low or anxious mood? This is a really important question!

  • Zander Rossman

    Correlation doesn’t imply causation tho. It could be that ppl with mental health issues just find online interaction more appealing than irl interaction for example, among other things

  • Alkerae

    No, nonono, that first example was so bad, so unbelievably bad, like, nobody bothered to ask themselves "what ELSE could this be proof of?" oh I don't know, maybe that real life buttons, and virtual buttons, are not the same thing? Pick up a banana, and then give a baby a picture of an apple and see if they pick it up, and then draw conclusions from this exercise... somehow.

  • Ron Doyle

    It should be illegal for someone under the age of 13 to use a smartphone

  • Veronica S

    Young kids have super short attention span though. Playing one episode of my Little pony isn't going to hurt or inhibit my young niece. It's about moderation. I was born in 1994, when the technology revolution was on us. Sure, I played a computer game or two or played on my Gameboy color, but I got bored and did something else

  • bienbien

    Is there an interesting study about the psych of people who re-watch movies vs people who only watch once?

  • Snoo Pl

    Pshha... Disney taught me that Love is more important than logic, reason or food. I'll be just fine (as long as someone loves me).

  • TodesBrot

    1:43 Holy cow that scared me. I did not anticipate a sudden noise.

  • watvid1

    I believe that. No screen time for under 2 otherwise they seem to become braindead

  • Alessandra Duffie

    I wish the study on screen time and mental health had also accounted for why they were using electronics. As a person who has been bullied and introvert, I grew up using a mix of books and video games to avoid negative situations and to give myself something to do that could be done alone. And I'm sure I'm not the only case. This variable could have possibly altered the results of the study.

  • TheTesirumGamer

    As and adolescents or adultIs there also problems than can accrue ?For example: insomniacs...I'm 16 years old...and...I fall asleep on my there anything that can harm me will sleeping ?

  • Danae Christodoulou

    Why do people complain?????????

  • awkszoo

    You talk about teens and children and the correlation between increased screen time and ill wellbeing, does the study consider why there was increased screen time? Like are the parents absent or emotionally neglectful? Are the kids already dealing with ill wellbeing and using technology as an escape?

  • Serpentine Sausage

    OMG! Logic makes sense?! U don’t say!!

  • Thomas Richardson

    That last study was correlational so meh.

  • chicken fingers

    Technology is really young compared to our thousands of years of being human. It's a great asset to our lives, but nothing comes without negatives, and it's important to understand them so we know how to use it enrich our lives without going over the edge.

  • Shimon Karpesh

    And then, there are programmers.

  • Toboez

    Oh so that's why i got depression

  • Ryan Daley

    I know a lot of 20 somethings who need to physically explore the world and learn how to interact with people offline.

  • oldcowbb

    screen time under 2 is pretty messed up

  • McHaven07

    The world seems to swing on a pendulum. Right now, we're swinging toward the technological extreme; it'll swing towards anti-tech soon enough, and then settle somewhere in the middle.

  • Wild pear running 1

    Watching this as a kid

  • إسمَاعيل شُوعيبِ

    Science to explain the obvious

  • tuathaan

    The very specific NO SCREEN TIME rec from AAP for <2yrs infants was left behind in 2015 for somewhat gentler language. Particularly, video chat with engaged adults is called out as OK. Very disappointing to see this gotten wrong. Not certain I will watch more of this channel and concerned about the scientific integrity of the other channels.

  • Rukkaru


  • mahoraner niall

    When I have a kid I wouldn't give it to them 24/7 but I would give it to them sometimes

  • Joey Moursalian

    You should do a video on trichotillomania. It would really inform people

  • bezerbatar

    From what i can read here, more people have seen positive outcomes from using tech than not.

  • chairshoe81

    pls taek dis vid down my mommy will t8ke awy my angry birbs!! xD :c

  • NyanimeGamer

    I found a news about a kid in the Philippines that just broke his mind, he cant eat, he'd cry and get mad without a computer, and so on, Incuded in it is another kid that had seizures that was later connected to lack of sleep

  • country//420// farmer

    What ever happened to playing with a stick?

  • KrazyKobold

    I'd love to see Sci Show Psych do an episode about the problems being gotten at in this article from Teen Vogue: is a fascinating example, in my mind, of how "innocently" cultural hegemony can institutionalize an "-ism" -- be it sexism, racism, etc. It requires no true "conspiracy" to happen. These studies were originally done to "help" people but they may be doing harm now.This is big and present in my mind in part because a known issue in psych research is that MANY studies in psychology especially tap 'college kids' because psych profs have hundreds of students readily available for free/cheap study by making "participate in a study" a part of class participation -- but how readily applicable can a study be that looked exclusively at "college kids" as they rarely are representative.But the studies and such are really what would stand out I bet if you guys looked into them and discussed part of how these tests are/can be flawed because of this kind of thing.As one research psychologist friend pointed out:most psych assessments, developed using White, middle aged men.

  • sangram korgaonkar

    was waiting for the screen-time joke XD

  • Xavier

    I’ve heard stories from my mother (who is a preschool teacher) of kids who think a blackboard is a touch screen or can’t comprehend the turning pages of a book because parents have been using the screen as a babysitting device from a young age. There’s nothing wrong with using the screen in moderation when kids are very young.

  • ThatchthepicGuy 123


  • Cuzeg Spiked

    Blue light does hurt and probably reduces sleep but thats the only downside, aside from if you are stupid enough to use full brightness all night. blue light filter solves all. video games overclock brains (games generally do make your brain stronger if its the right game in terms of teamwork, thinking, reflexes, etc, mainly pc games and such).Of course for babies and really young kids, practical is better than screens and even physcial books are nice. avoid tv in general too. Though good entertainment does help into a good childhood but not super kiddy shows like teletubbies.I mean too much screen time isnt good but too much of anything isnt good. Having a break does help (even if the screen has blue light filter).

  • Whiteboy9711

    I think it might be important in this climate to have a video about correlation between violent video games and violence in children and teens.

  • therabbithat

    please don't put "actually" in the title unless the answer is no. I already knew this. ffs.

  • friggin149

    i bet parents say their kids are more "ill" behaved because now they're doing it in the livingroom instead of on the street where you don't see it.

  • some person

    It's possible screen time causes psychological problems in teens, but it's also possible teens who already have psychological problems and find it harder to make friends and/or leave the house are more likely to spend more time on a screen.

Homeopathy Explained – Gentle Healing or Reckless Fraud?
When Do Kids Develop Empathy?
Mysterium Cosmographicum
Why Do So Many People Believe in Conspiracy Theories?
How Do Babies Become Bilingual?
When Waking up After Decades Turned out to Be Temporary
Why Does Pet Therapy Work? (It's Not Just Cute Dogs)
7 Animals We Used to Think Were Extinct (But Aren't!)
Why Are Challenge Videos a Thing?
Are Violent Video Games Bad For You?
How Restaurants Use Psychology to Make You Spend More Money
10 Traits of Toxic Parents Who Ruin Their Children’s Lives
© 2018 Первый канал программа — Программа первого канала, самые актуальные теле передачи смотри онлайн
Все материалы, размещенные на сайте, взяты из открытых источников (,, и прочих общедоступных ресурсов), принадлежат их владельцам и предоставляются исключительно в ознакомительных целях.