Impact of Screen-Based Activities on Children and Young People's Wellbeing

5Rights Foundation response to the United Kingdom Chief Medical Officers’ commentary on ‘screen-based activities and children and young people’s mental health and psychosocial wellbeing: a systematic map of reviews’.

‘We welcome the Chief Medical Officers’ focus on children and digital - and in particular note their support for the Government to “legislate to set clear expectations of the technology industry” on behalf of children.

Children are experiencing a complex assault on the norms of childhood. Commercialised, sexualised, intrusive, and demanding with powerful loops of social validation and disappointment 24/7. The CMOs has made clear that there is an urgent need for more evidence. Nonetheless, it is clear from their recommendations for further legislation, creation of powers to get data from the technology sector, and their precautionary advice for parents - she has found much to be concerned about.

5Rights Foundation supports the intentional and positive use of digital technology by children, but too many digital services are deliberately designed with addictive capabilities to dominate children’s time and attention and actively discourage them from switching off - at the cost of family, social life or sleep.

We welcome the CMOs’ interim findings and would further call on the Government to introduce legislation to make sure that the rules published by companies, and signed up to by children, are upheld.  51% of UK children have a social media account by the age of 12 despite a joining age of 13. The routine failure of online companies to deliver on their own promises about age, adult or violent content, and unacceptable behaviour means that regulation is the only and urgent answer.’

For more information contact Rebecca Fordham:

  • Phone: 020 7502 3818
  • Email:

Link to the Chief Medical Officers’ commentary: UK Chief Medical Officers’ commentary on ‘Screen-based activities and children and young people’s mental health and psychological wellbeing: a systematic map of reviews