Citation: Livingstone, S., Stoilova, M., and Rahali, M. (2022). Health and wellbeing: a guided reading list. CO:RE – Children Online: Research and Evidence.
Useful starting points
d’Haenens, L., Vandoninck, S. & Donoso, V. (2013). How to Cope and Build Online Resilience?. EU Kids Online.
This book looks at the different coping strategies European children employ when bothered by an online experience (resilience is defined as ‘the ability to deal with negative experiences online or offline’). The authors also discuss coping strategies adopted by children when going through negative online experiences.
Kalmus, V., Siibak, A. and Blinka, L. (2014). Internet and Child Well-being. In A. Ben-Arieh, F. Casas, I. Frønes & J.E. Korbin (eds). Handbook of Child Well-Being: Theories, Methods and Policies in Global Perspective (pp.2093-2133). Springer.
This chapter employs classical conceptualisations of the quality of life to define and structure the aspects of child wellbeing as related to the internet. In treating ‘wellbeing’ as a multidimensional construct, the authors combine Allardt’s (1993) classification of individual human needs (‘having’, ‘loving’ and ‘being’) with categorisations from a psychological approach and the UNICEF Index of Children’s Well-Being, as well as the societal aspect. The chapter discusses six components of wellbeing as related to the internet: material, physical, psychological, social, developmental and societal.
Lundy, L. (2014). United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and Child Well-Being. In A. Ben-Arieh, F. Casas, I. Frønes & J.E. Korbin (eds) Handbook of Child Well-Being: Theories, Methods and Policies in Global Perspective (pp. 2439–2462). Springer.
Lundy considers the concept of child wellbeing through the disciplinary lens of human rights, with a particular focus on children’s rights as set out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Odgers, C. & Jensen, M. R. (2020). Annual Research Review: Adolescent mental health in the digital age: facts, fears, and future directions. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 61(3), 336–348.
This review summarizes what is known about linkages between digital technology usage and adolescent mental health, with a specific focus on depression and anxiety.
Bickham, D.S., Kavanaugh, J.R. & Rich, M. (2016). Media effects as health research: How pediatricians have changed the study of media and child development. Journal of Children and Media, 10(2), 191–199.
This article will help readers to better think of how the field of children and media has increasingly become more ‘polyphonic’, and to evaluate what other disciplines, especially health sciences, focus on when studying – broadly, children’s media use.
Büchi, M. (2021). Digital well-being theory and research. New Media & Society, 0(00):1-18.
Develops a theoretical framework on the impacts of digital media use on well-being integrating digital practices, harms/benefits, and well-being.
Freeman, J.L., Caldwell, P.H., Bennett, P.A. & Scott, K.M. (2018). How adolescents search for and appraise online health information: A systematic review. The Journal of Pediatrics, 195, 244–255.
This article reports on a systematic review on adolescents’ health-related information seeking and assessment of the sources they find. It argues that adolescents are aware of the varying quality of online health information, and strategies used for searching and appraising online health information differ in their sophistication.
James, C., Davis, K., Charmaraman, L., Konrath, S., Slovak, P., Weinstein, E., & Yarosh, L. (2017). Digital Life and Youth Well-being, Social Connectedness, Empathy, and Narcissism. Pediatrics (Evanston), 140(Suppl 2), S71–S75.
The authors conduct a review of existing work to find that a complex interplay of individual factors, type of digital media engagement, and experiences in media contexts informs outcomes related to well-being, social connectedness, empathy, and narcissism.
Livingstone, S., Mascheroni, G. & Staksrud, E. (2018). European research on children’s internet use: Assessing the past, anticipating the future. New Media & Society, 20(3), 1103–1122.
This article offers an explanation of the evolution of the EU Kids Online model, to show how, building on theory, evidence and policy developments over the past decade, the different factors that shape children’s wellbeing in a digital world interrelate and influence outcomes.
Orben, A., Dienlin, T. & Przybylski, A.K. (2019). Social media’s enduring effect on adolescent life satisfaction. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116(21), 10226–10228.
This article looks at social media and adolescent life satisfaction. Based on large-scale representative panel data, social media use is not a strong predictor of life satisfaction across the adolescent population. Rather, social media effects were found to be nuanced, small at best, reciprocal over time, gender-specific, and contingent on analytic methods.
Rozgonjuk, D., Saal, K. & Täht, K. (2018). Problematic smartphone use, deep and surface approaches to learning, and social media use in lectures. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15(1), 92.
This article considers problematic smartphone use (PSU), contributing to the ongoing debate on excessive engagement in smartphone use, and proposes and operationalises the concept of PSU. The study demonstrates the relationship between PSU, as well as the frequency of social media use and different approaches to learning.
Street, M. (2021). Theorising child well-being: Towards a framework for analysing early childhood education policy in England. Journal of Early Childhood Research, 19(2), 211–224.
Street proposes a theoretical framework for children’s wellbeing, and further elucidates its application as an analytic tool.
Swist, T. & Collin, P. (2017). Platforms, data and children’s rights: Introducing a ‘networked capability approach’. New Media & Society, 19(5), 671–685.
Swist and Collin develop an approach to children’s wellbeing that builds on Sen’s capability approach, and take it into the digital age. On the one hand, this means that wellbeing is conceptualised not as an individual property but in terms of the perspective and needs of individuals in context, and as part of a community. On the other hand, now that contexts and communities extend into digital networks, this has implications for how we understand wellbeing and its influences.
Sziron, M. & Hildt, E. (2018). Digital media, the right to an open future, and children 0–5. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 2137.
There is a need to develop an adequate framework for digital media use and investigate the benefits, risks and implications of digital media use in very young children. This article contributes to this development, focusing on the social and ethical implications of digital media technology relating to children aged 0–5.
Thapar, A., Stewart-Brown, S. and Harold, G.T. (2021). What has happened to children’s wellbeing in the UK?. Lancet Psychiatry, 8(1), 5–6.
This article explores the positive effects of green space on the wellbeing of children aged 4 from different ethnic groups. The findings suggest that satisfaction with green space, rather than the amount of space, has a positive effect on wellbeing. There are differences based on ethnicity.
Twigg, L., Duncan, C. & Weich, S. (2020). Is social media use associated with children’s well-being? Results from the UK Household Longitudinal Study. Journal of Adolescence, 80, 73–83.
To explore social media and children’s wellbeing, children aged 10–15 from 7 waves of the UK Household Longitudinal Study were examined (n = 7596). It was found that moderate use of social media does not play an important role in shaping children’s life satisfaction. Higher levels of use is associated with lower levels of happiness, especially for girls, but more research is needed.
Valkenburg, P. (2022). Theoretical Foundations of Social Media Uses and Effects. In J. Nesi, E. Telzer, & M. Prinstein (Eds.), Handbook of Adolescent Digital Media Use and Mental Health (pp. 39-60). Cambridge University Press.
In this chapter, Valkenburg discusses the communication and media effects theories that are foundational for research into the effects of social media use on adolescents.
Vallerand, R.J., Blanchard, C., Mageau, G., Koestner, R., Ratelle, C., Léonard, M., Gagné, M. & Marsolais, J. (2003). Les passions de l’âme: On obsessive and harmonious passion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85, 756–767.
This article discusses internet addiction/dysfunctional use of the internet – an obsessive passion that is perceived as being out of control. This concept should be more clearly communicated because it is more often a symptom of a mental health or family problems and less often a centre of the problems.
Weinstein, E. (2018). The social media see-saw: Positive and negative influences on adolescents’ affective well-being. New Media & Society, 20(10), 3597–3623.
This article discusses social media and effects in US teens. The relationship between social technology usage and wellbeing was not found to be confined to an ‘either/or’ framework. Rather, the emotional see-saw of social media use appears to be weighted by both positive and negative influences.
Widyanto, L. & Griffiths, M. (2006). ‘Internet addiction’: A critical review. International Journal of Mental Health Addiction, 4, 31–51.
Widyanto and Griffiths explore excessive internet and smartphone use, mapping five main areas that are presented in empirical research on excessive use. They discuss the existence of ‘internet addiction’
More reading lists on other concepts
Health and wellbeing - a guided reading list with key textsHealth and wellbeing - a guided reading list with key texts