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Digital Media and Youth: a Primer for School Psychologists

Abstract

The growing proliferation of digital media over the past few decades has engendered both significant promise and significant concerns regarding children’s development. Digital media have changed the ways young people learn, interact with others, and develop essential cognitive and social-emotional skills. This paper provides school psychologists with a comprehensive literature review about the effects of digital media on various aspects of children’s functioning. It discusses the effects of digital media use on youth’s physical and mental health, attention, and cognition. It further highlights risks for young people’s cognitive functioning associated with multitasking and reviews the outcomes of reading on a screen vs. reading on paper. Special attention is given to the effects of digital media on youth’s social-emotional functioning, including relationships with others and identity formation, and socio-emotional risks such as cyberbullying and aggressive behaviors. School psychologists are provided with recommendations on how to incorporate information about digital media in their work with parents, educators, and youth in order to promote healthy digital media use.

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Correspondence to Elena Savina.

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Savina, E., Mills, J.L., Atwood, K. et al. Digital Media and Youth: a Primer for School Psychologists. Contemp School Psychol 21, 80–91 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40688-017-0119-0

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Keywords

  • Digital media
  • Health
  • Cognition
  • Learning
  • Socio-emotional development