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The Impact on Children and Families' Ability to Thrive

On The Problem page we introduced factors, referred to as assets, that the Search Institute's research has determined impact the well-being of children and families, the overuse of screen devices, and the growing mental health crisis in our youth. Here we explore the impact of these factors by looking at:

  1.  The "Third Parent's" Impact on Children & Families

  2.  The Wellbeing of Children as a Function of the Developmental Assets They Possess

  3.  The Wellbeing of Families as a Function of the Family Assets They Possess.

  1. How the "Third Parent" Impacts the Wellbeing of Children and Families

The Impact on Children

Journal of Pediatrics and Child Health:

Increases in unsupervised screen time in childhood are linked to decreases in...

  • Brain Development

  • Academic Engagement & Success

  • IQ

  • Mental Health

  • Self Esteem

  • Physical Fitness

  • Diet Quality

  • Sleep

Iowa State University:

Middle school students who exceeded the 2 hours of recommended screen time per day were twice as likely to have attention problems (as reported by their teachers) as students who spent less than 2 hours a day in front of a screen.

The Impact on Families

​University of North Texas:

  • Parents who use their phones during parent-child interactions are less sensitive and responsive to their children, potentially leading to lower quality parent-child interactions and relationships.

  • Managing device use is complicated and, without collaboration between children and parent(s), can contribute to family conflict.

  • Children follow the screen use model their parents set for them

2. The Wellbeing of Children as a Function of their Developmental Assets

The data indicates a distinct correlation between the number of assets a child has and their participation in healthy vs. unhealthy behaviors. The more assets a child has, the less likely they are to participate in problem alcohol use, violence, illicit drug use, and sexual activity. Conversely, the more assets a child has, the more likely they are to exhibit leadership, maintain good health, value diversity and succeed in school.

40 Developmental Assets Correlated to Negative Behaviors and Traits
40 Developmental Assets Correlated to Positive Behaviors and Traits

Figures based on survey of 150,000 6 -12 graders in 202 U.S. Communities 

For a full list of the 40 Developmental Assets and to learn more about Search Institute's work, use the following link:

3. The Wellbeing of Families as a Function of the Family Assets They Have 

On the Problem Page, we introduced the 21 Family Assets.

Here, we review the study's findings on the impact that the presence of these assets has on a family.

The more assets a family has, the more likely they are to ...

  • Have Children that Experience Improved Academic
    Achievement & Engagement

  • Engage in Healthy Behaviors

  • Spend Time Together Serving Their Communities

  • Act in Socially Responsible Ways

  • Be Civically Engaged

Adults hold the responsibility to establish and nurture family assets. Children should be involved at age-appropriate levels, but developmentally, they don't have the skills to establish and nurture them. However, as the parenting adults create and foster these assets, they model how to do so for their children. 

Want to know more about the survey? Click below to find out. 

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