Fourth year students were recently involved in a workshop designed to help them manage screen time.

Hosted by Dr Aric Sigman, the event outlined how overuse and misuse of non-homework screen activities – sometimes known as discretionary screen time, or ‘DST’ – is increasingly linked with risks to physical and emotional wellbeing, and is now a medical issue.

“Amounts matter,” warned Dr Sigman, “yet DST is the main activity of young people today – even overtaking sleep in many cases.”

Dr Sigman explained why parent and teachers may ‘nag’ about screen use and the risks of excessive and/or late night DST and what can be done to prevent problems and manage screen time safely. He has published a number of peer-reviewed medical papers on the subject.

In the workshop, students learned about how  the  misuse or overuse  of  electronic  media  may affect school performance,  academic  achievement,  brain  development, physical and  mental health, social skills  and  relationships as well as the strong link between screen use before bed time and sleep deprivation and what  ‘multi-tasking’  – having other windows/apps/message alerts/devices on or open while studying – may do to  student’s  minds, brains and grades. They were also given practical tips about when to switch off and why.

Dr Sigman lectures on PSHE health education at schools and to parents as well as at medical schools, including UCL, and to the NHS.


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