Virtually Impossible? Promoting Healthy Screen Time Habits Among Australian Children and Adolescents.


  • S. Houghton
  • S. Hunter
  • M. Rosenberg
  • L. Wood
  • C. Zaddow
  • K. Martin
  • T. Shilton


Background: Screens, in particular mobile devices, are the centrepiece of young people’s lives. Is the recommendation that parents limit children’s screen time to < 2 hours per day a realistic objective? Primary Objective: To determine Australian 8-16 year olds screen use, particularly in the context of the < 2 hours recommendation. Research Questions: To what extent are Australian children/adolescents exceeding the 2 hour recommendation? Method: On line survey of screen use on “a typical weekday†with 2,553 8-16 year olds from 26 schools. A new Youth Orientation to Screen Use Scale (YOSUS) was developed. Results: Two factors (Salience [S] & Mood Management [MM]) (CFI=.98, NFI=.98, RMSEA=.048)emerged. Hierarchical linear models revealed increasing gender disparity with main effects of Gaming, Social Networking, Web Use, and TV; different significant predictors for males/females evident. Screen use (0-2 hours, 2.1-4 hours, 4.1-6 hours, over 6.1 hours) revealed main effects for S & MM. Discussion: Young people exceed 2 hours by varying degrees on different activities (with differing associated effects). Findings are important for promoting healthy screen time habits.






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