Exploring contemporary screen time in Australian adolescents: a qualitative study

Thomas, George and Bennie, Jason A. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8668-8998 and De Cocker, Katrien and Biddle, Stuart J. H. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7663-6895 (2020) Exploring contemporary screen time in Australian adolescents: a qualitative study. Health Promotion Journal of Australia. pp. 1-10. ISSN 1036-1073

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Abstract

Issue addressed
Screen time, a highly prevalent behaviour, can be detrimental to adolescent health. To better understand this health‐related behaviour, this study explores the nature of adolescents’ contemporary screen engagement, adding to the currently limited body of qualitative research in this area.

Methods
Sixteen adolescents (9 girls and 7 boys) aged 13‐17 years from a secondary school in Queensland, Australia participated in semi‐structured one‐on‐one interviews. All interviews were transcribed verbatim, anonymised and thematically analysed using an inductive approach.

Results
Smartphone use was ubiquitous, occurring mostly at home, after school, and typically used for social, entertainment and functional activities. Binge‐watching and multi‐screening emerged as common sedentary patterns of contemporary screen engagement, often performed solitary. Screen time appeared to be an important aspect of adolescents’ social lives, while there were also some psychological, physical and behavioural concerns. Family and friends were thought to influence adolescents’ screen time either directly (co‐participation) or indirectly (modelling), while social smartphone notifications were said to prompt habitual, frequent and prolonged screen engagement.

Conclusion
This study provided several new insights into the nature, functions, patterns, and benefits and concerns of adolescents’ contemporary screen engagement. On the whole, adolescents engaged in a wide variety of screen‐viewing practices, including newer digital media, mostly as a function to connect with friends and family.

So what?
It might be desirable for screen time reduction interventions and policies to take into account the underlying social and psychological factors, and habitual nature of contemporary screen engagement among adolescents.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Published online: 13 November 2020. Submitted version deposited in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Resilient Regions - Centre for Health Research (1 Apr 2020 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Resilient Regions - Centre for Health Research (1 Apr 2020 -)
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2021 04:10
Last Modified: 19 Feb 2021 04:39
Uncontrolled Keywords: adolescents, health behaviours, qualitative methods, social media
Fields of Research (2008): 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111716 Preventive Medicine
11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111706 Epidemiology
11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1106 Human Movement and Sports Science > 110699 Human Movement and Sports Science not elsewhere classified
Fields of Research (2020): 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4207 Sports science and exercise > 420799 Sports science and exercise not elsewhere classified
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4202 Epidemiology > 420201 Behavioural epidemiology
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/hpja.440
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/41259

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