New $2.5 million fund to investigate impact of screen-related addiction in young people


The Minns Labor Government is delivering on its commitment to tackle screen-related addiction in young people with a new research fund established to investigate the impact of problematic screen use on children’s development and learning.

Delivering an election commitment to establish a screen-related addiction research fund, the NSW Government has pledged $2.5 million to support new research into the impacts of problematic screen use.

The NSW Government’s Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation (CESE) will oversee the fund, with the grants awarded through a competitive process.

Research findings will deliver a comprehensive database of knowledge on how screen use affects young people and students at school, which can be used to inform stronger government policy.

Funding of up to $500,000 will be available to successful applications for tender grants, and up to $200,000 will be offered to successful recipients of partnership grants.

Partnership grants will be offered where research into problematic screen-use is already underway, after applications are competitively assessed. Open tender grants will be offered to projects with novel screen-related research proposals.

Issues that may be looked at include:

  • What are the key sources of problematic screen time for young people in NSW?
  • What impact is screen use having on the learning, wellbeing and behaviour of children?
  • Strategies to counter the negative impacts of problematic screen use
  • Whether today’s students are impacted by screens in the same ways as other generations
  • And the impact on teaching as a result of changing digital technologies.

The grants will be advertised in two rounds with the first beginning in late 2023.

Applicants will be asked to deliver their research by 2026.

This announcement comes after the Minns Labor Government successfully banned mobile phones for students in all NSW public schools from the beginning of Term 4, after consultation with teachers, students and parents.

Quotes attributable to New South Wales Premier Chris Minns:

“We all know young people love their devices – be it mobile phones, gaming devices or their computers.

“Many parents are worried about screen time and how it might be affecting their children and how they learn, but the impacts of devices on children are largely unknown.

“Investing in this research fund will help create a growing body of knowledge on this issue to inform our government policies, but it will also help inform parents in NSW.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Education and Early Learning Prue Car:

“Students spend a lot of their time on devices – so it is important that we find out how this new reality is impacting children and their development.

“Many parents I speak with are worried about the impact screen time is having on their children, and it is important we help to provide parents all the facts they need to make informed decisions.

“Investing in research is vital, so the Government can form evidence-based policies that we know will have a positive impact on our students, teachers and larger school cohort moving into the future.”

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