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Digital Media and Youth: a Primer for School PsychologistsAbstractDigital Media and Youth’s Physical and Mental HealthThe Effect of Digital Media on CognitionThe Effect of Multitasking and Information ProcessingDigital Media and LearningDigital Media and Socio-emotional DevelopmentRecommendations for School Psychology PracticeConsultation of ParentsConsultation of Educational PersonnelInterventions with Children and AdolescentsReferencesSYSTEMATIC REVIEWDigital Media and Youth: a Primer for School PsychologistsElena Savina1,2& Jennifer L. Mills1& Kelly Atwood1& Jason Cha1Published online: 17 January 2017#California Association of School Psychologists 2017Abstract The growing proliferation of digital media over thepast few decades has engendered both significant promise andsignificant concerns regarding children’s development.Digital media have changed the ways young people learn,interact with others, and develop e ssential cognitive andsocial-emotional skills. This paper provides school psycholo-gists with a comprehensive literature review about the effectsof digital media on various aspects of children’s functioning. Itdiscusses the effects of digital media use on youth’sphysicaland mental health, attention, and cognition. It further high-lights risks for young people’s cognitive functioning associat-ed with multitasking and reviews the outcomes of reading on ascreen vs. reading on paper. Special attention is given to theeffects of digital media on youth’s social-emotional function-ing, including relationships with others and identity forma-tion, and socio-emotional risks such as cyberbullying and ag-gressive behaviors. School psychologists are provided withrecommendations on how to incorporate information aboutdigital media in their work with parents, educators, and youthin order to promote healthy digital media use.Keywords Digital media.Health.Cognition.Learning.Socio-emotional developmentDigital media have become a ubiquitous part of our cultureand youth’s lives. In the USA, young people use digital media(e.g., TV, video games, computers) on average about 7.5 h aday every day; and the use of digital media continues to rise(Rideout et al. 2010). Ove rall, African-Amer ican childrenspend more time watching TVand playing video games com-pared to Hispanic and White children (Roberts and Foehr2008). It is estimated that today’s children may spend up to20 years of their lives engaging with the Internet (Biocca2000). There is a concerning trend regarding the early expo-sure of children to TV, as statistics show that 33% of house-holds in the USA have a TV in the rooms of children youngerthan 6 years of age (Roberts and Foehr 2008) and 43% ofchildren under age two watch TV every day (Rideout andHamel 2006). Children younger than 2 years of age are ex-posed to an average of 5.5 h of background TV per day—almost twice as much as 6–8 year-old children; in addition,African-American children, children from single-parenthomes and low-income families, and children whose parentshave less formal education are at greater risk to be exposed tobackground TV (Lapierre et al. 2012).Digital media provide youth access to a vast amount ofinformation and create new opportunities for learning andsocial interaction. At the same time, they significantly changethe socio-cultural context of child development and the waysyoung people learn, communicate, and interact with others.Excessive digital media use can interfere with important, for-mative relationships with family and peers (Morimoto andFriedland 2011; Steiner-Adair 2013; Subrah manyam andGreenfield 2008). Multitasking, associated with digital media,can compromise executive functioning and overtax mental* Elena [email protected] L. [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] of Graduate Psychology, James Madison University, 70Alumnae Dr., MSC 7401, Harrisonburg, VA 22807, USA2Orel State University, Orel, RussiaContemp School Psychol (2017) 21:80–91DOI 10.1007/s40688-017-0119-0resources (Baumgartner et al. 2014; Courage et al. 2015;Rosen et al. 2012). Additionally, the ease of access to infor-mation can lead to exposure to dangerous individuals andscary or violent images (Livingstone et al. 2011; Steiner-Adair 2013; Wilson 2008). The goal of this paper is to provideschool psychologists with a comprehensive review of studiesexamining the effect of digital media on the main domains ofyouth development including physical and mental health, cog-nitive processes, learning, and socio-emotional development.Both benefits and risks associated with digital media use willbe discussed. In order to provide understanding of the devel-opmental aspect of digital media use, the paper reviews stud-ies pertaining to young children, school-age youth, andemerging adults. It will supply school psychologists with rec-ommendations on developmentally appropriate ways to usedigital media at home and school.Digital Media and Youth’s Physical and MentalHealthThere are several health-related benefits associated with usingdigital media for young people including easy and anonymousaccess to online health information, joining online supportgroups for health-related conditions, and using mobile tech-nologies (e.g., cell phones, instant messaging) to adhere to amedication regimen (O’Keeffe et al. 20 11). Further, usingneurofeedback through a smart-tablet can improve executivefunction in children with attention problems (Shin et al. 2016)and a smartphone application was found to be useful for thetreatment of pediatric obsessive-compulsive disorder(Whiteside et al. 2014). Technology can be a valuable toolfor delivering preventive interventions as it provides an easyaccess to health information and a possibility to tailor inter-ventions towards recipients’ needs (Ybarra 2014). Examplesof such interventions include the Internet-based healthy sexu-ality program BCyberSenga^ which was tested in secondaryschools in Uganda and BStop My Smoking^ atextmessaging-based smoking cessation program for young adults imple-mented in the United States and Turkey. Both programs dem-onstrated promising results in promoting healthy behaviors inyouth (Ybarra 2014).At the same time, excessive digital media use represents anenvironmental risk factor for youth’s physical and mentalhealth. For example, excessive TV watching is associatedwith obesity. A longitudinal study with kindergartenersshowed that watching

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