CAD.20.001 – The Digital Society: Balancing on- and off-screen behaviour (BOOST)

Route: Child and adolescent development, upbringing and education

Cluster question: 059 How can we help children and adolescents grow up safe and healthy?

During the last decade, the use of digital devices (smartphone, tablet) by children and adolescents has further increased, and so have societal concerns about the possible health effects of (heavy) use of digital media. Parents, teachers, and professionals have to deal with these worries, but are poorly equipped to do so as expertise in this field is limited. Although longitudinal studies have addressed possible health outcomes of digital media and screen use, the state-of-the-art knowledge is largely hindered by contradictory findings. An important reason for inconsistent results is that significant predictors of health outcomes that relate to digital media use, such as non-screen activities (e.g. sleep, exercise) and more qualitative aspects of screen use (e.g. cybervictimization), are largely ignored in these studies, as well as individual and social factors that may shape the health outcomes of screen use. Project BOOST will deal with these shortcomings by utilizing a comprehensive multidisciplinary approach aiming at youngsters aged 8-18 years. The project will examine how aspects of on- and off-screen behavior contribute to different screen use profiles, and how these profiles predict problematic (addictive-like) screen use, as well as cognitive, physical and psychosocial wellbeing, taking account of qualitative aspects of screen use, as well as individual, family and peer factors. Moreover, mechanisms underlying health effects will be investigated, and particular groups that are at heightened risk for the development unhealthy screen use patterns. The generated insights within the BOOST project will be used to develop tools for early screening and signaling of unhealthy screen use (Screen Use Balance self-test), developing and piloting child/parent materials as well as materials for professionals to support and promote healthy screen use.


digital health, Screen use, screen use behaviour, smartphone, youth

Other organisations

Amsterdam University Medical Center (Amsterdam UMC), GGD-HM, Jellinek, Nemo, NEMO Science Museum, Netherlands Youth Institute, Netwerk Mediawijsheid, Stichting Alexander, Stichting Kocon, Trimbos Institute, University of Amsterdam (CcaM), University of Tilburg (TiU), Utrecht University (UU), Vodafone Ziggo, Windesheim University of Applied Sciences


Organisation University of Utrecht (UU)
Name Dr. R.J.J.M. (Regina) van den Eijnden