The Conceptual and Methodological Mayhem of “Screen-time”

LINDA KAYE, Amy Orben, David A Ellis, Simon C. Hunter, Stephen Houghton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

118 Citations (Scopus)
56 Downloads (Pure)


Debates concerning the impacts of screen-time are widespread. Existing research presents mixed findings, and lacks longitudinal evidence for any causal or long-term effects. We present a critical account of the current shortcomings of the screen-time literature. These include: poor conceptualisation, the use of non-standardised measures that are predominantly self-report, and the issues with measuring screen-time over time and context. Based on these issues, we make a series of recommendations as a basis for furthering academic and public debate. These include: drawing on a user-focused approach, to seek the various affordances gained from “screen uses”. Within this, we can better understand the way in which these vary across time and context, and make distinction between objective measures of “screen-time” compared to those more subjective experiences of uses or affordances, and the differential impacts these may bring.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3661
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number10
Early online date22 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - 22 May 2020


  • screen-time
  • screen use
  • well-being
  • social media
  • self-reports
  • methods
  • affordances


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