The cycle of moral panic around screen time and technology use feels endless. Here are three issues we need to address before we can move the debate on

The debate about children and technology has increasingly captured public interest over the past year, and has been raging for many more. As with anything of this nature, the public conversations about screen time have gradually become more heated and divisive. And in turn, it increasingly feels as though scientific evidence has become a casualty in the process.

Just this week for example, we have seen the resurgence of scaremongering stories claiming that social media is leaving children “unable to communicate with each other”. Such claims are pushed into the spotlight in the complete absence of anything that vaguely resembles supporting evidence. The academic teams working on providing the science to inform this debate are most often overlooked. This is not surprising as science itself does not have keen PR teams or spare time to contact editors to correct flawed press coverage. And while it is true that science may be self-correcting, in practice this is a process that moves at a glacial pace.

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