Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science

Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science


Pediatrics/Behavioral Health/Women's Health


Dr. Laura Witte, Ph.D., PA-C



Objective: The purpose of this article is to explore the correlations between screen time use and depression in children.

Method: A PubMed literature search was conducted with search terms “screen time” AND (“mental health” OR “behavior”). The publication date was limited to the past five years with the additional filter “Child: birth-18 years” applied. Seventeen pertinent articles were retrieved and serve as the basis for this clinical review.

Results: The combination of increased screen time, decreased sleep, and decreased physical activity plays a negative role in the psychological well-being of children. Individually, each component may cause depression, but the evidence is inconsistent. Social media use has an overall negative impact on mood and has led to an increase in suicidal ideation and self-harming behaviors.

Conclusion: Handheld devices have made technology available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This has led to an increase in the amount of screen time children partake in each day. The type of content a child is exposed to has also changed leading to age-inappropriate viewing as well as cyberbullying, both of which lead to lower psychological well-being. Leisure screen time use leads to decreased sleep duration, sleep quality, and physical activity. These three things combined lead to increases in depression amongst the pediatric population. Therefore, screen time correlates with depression in children.

Key terms/Phrases: Screen time, Mental Health, Children


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