Technology Use and Adolescent Health


This area of study aims to gain a better understanding of the effects that technology is having on the health of Canadian adolescents. Examples of research questions that are being investigated are: What is being lost as we gain so much in terms of technological advances and social connectivity? How can adults, parents and families support children and adolescents in the healthy use of technology, so that they can be engaged citizens, confident youth, happy and whole people?


This project is being developed in response to a call for papers on Communications Technologies, Media Use and the Health of Our Kids.


Research Findings

Screen time and risk behaviour among 10-16 year old Canadian youth


What was studied?

The researchers looked at whether time on a computer, time playing video games or time watching television increased Canadian youth chance of participating in multiple risk behaviour such as smoking, drunkenness, non-use of seatbelts, cannabis use, illicit drug use, and non-use of condom.


Who was studied?

This study used information on Canadian youth gathered through the 2005/2006 Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Survey. Specifically, this study looked at data from 8215 youth grades 6-10 from all across Canada. The researchers also collected data from 1424 Ontario youth who were in grades 9 and 10 in 2006.


What was found?

Youth who spent lots of time on the computer were found to have 50% increase in participation in multiple risk behaviours. There was also a small association between time spent watching television and the chance that a youth will participate in multiple risk behaviours. Time spent playing video games was not associated with multiple risk behaviours in youth.


What should parents and caregivers take out of this?

Parents and caregivers should consider limiting excessive screen time use, especially time spent on a computer.

Holistic Health