TEENS & SCREENS: Challenges of Excessive Screen Time.

  • We are hearing and learning more about the negative effect that excessive screen time is having on youth.

  • Screen time is the exposure to smartphones, tablets and television screens.

  • What can be done to reduce the excessive screen time?

Teen Brain” is a book by Australian lawyer and social researcher, David Gillespie.

  • He outlines ‘why screens are making your teenager depressed, anxious and prone to lifelong addictive illnesses.”
  • He mentions that the games and apps are programmed to be addictive.
  • This has dramatically increased anxiety and depression in adolescences.
  • Youth suicide rates have increased.

David Gillespie informs us that:

  • Unlimited access to screens is driving an epidemic of addiction, depression, and anxiety.

  • The biology of puberty makes teens susceptible to addictions that can last for life and create mental illness.

  • Parenting is much more permissive and parents have to act to save their children.

Gillespie presents a one-size-fits-all kind of approach throughout his book.

This approach can be problematic, as not all teenagers are the same.

Gillespie suggests that

  • We engineer taking the screens away from children.

  • They should use them when needed for school.

  • Limit the use at other times such as during school holidays and evenings.

  • They should only be used in common areas at home and never in their bedrooms especially at night.

From an adult’s point of view, these might be great ideas.

But from a young person’s viewpoint, they could appear draconian.

These could be a challenge to implement.


  • Encourage youth to develop a sense of identity outside of social media;
  • Encourage them to spend more time in face-to-face interactions such as in youth groups;
  • Suggest they consider:
    • Contributing to a cause or a community;
    • Belonging to a group or organization;
    • Taking a stand for their values and convictions;
  • Working on a group project where they:
    • RESEARCH:– the causes and effects of excessive screen time;
    • PRESENT RESULTS: Make presentations on their research;
    • DISCUSS – possible solutions to excessive screen time;
    • IMPLEMENT – What and how can they introduce the solutions;
    • TRACK – what tools can they put in place to measure how well they are doing;
  • Consider screen-free zones – such as not in their bedrooms;
  • Screen-free times – no screen-time late at night.

We can encourage and enable the younger generation to cope with the detrimental effects of excessive screen time.


It has been demonstrated that our youth learn the desired skills from youth group sessions.

What are your thoughts and comments? To forward them, please see the “How Can You Help?” section below.


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There is a guide available which assists parents and others working with youth.

The guide enables a person to be proactive in the success of a child’s future.

It contains activities to assist youth to gain critical soft skills.

They will become more resourceful and independent when they practice and gain these skills.

The guide is available from Our Future Leaders.

Request the Parent’s Guide herehttp://www.ourfutureleaders.ca/contact-us/


Fred Jones

Victoria, BC Canada

Fred Jones

Fred Jones

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