++Publication Alert++ The developing brain in the digital era: A systematic review of structural and functional correlates of screen time in adolescence
27 August 2021
The widespread diffusion of screen-based devices in adolescence has fueled a debate about the beneficial and detrimental effects on adolescents’ well-being and development. With the aim of summarizing the existing literature on the associations between screen time (including Internet-related addictions) and adolescent brain development, the present scoping review summarized evidence from 16 task-unrelated and task-related neuroimaging studies, published between 2010 and 2020. Results highlight three important key messages: (i) a frequent and longer duration of screen- based media consumption (including Internet-related addictive behaviors) is related to a less efficient cognitive control system in adolescence, including areas of the Default Mode Network and the Central Executive Network; (ii) online activities act as strong rewards to the brain and repeated screen time augments the tendency to seek short- term gratifications; and (iii) neuroscientific research on the correlates between screen time and adolescent brain development is still at the beginning and in urgent need for further evidence, especially on the underlying causality mechanisms. Methodological, theoretical, and conceptual implications are discussed.