New Uses of Screens in Post-Lockdown Britain


£25,779 + Top up funding

Partners and collaborators

British Families in Lockdown Study

Black background with 'New Uses of Screens in Post-Lockdown Britain' written in white font. In the top left corner is the Research England logo also in white. To the right are various scenic images.


The ‘New Uses of Screens in Post-Lockdown Britain’ study (NUSPB) set out to discover the current lived experiences of British people and how screen technologies may or may not have become more permanently integrated within their day-to-day lives following the coronavirus lockdowns of 2020–2021. This research used a combination of qualitative interviews and a national survey to investigate the extent to which British people (including diverse, marginalised and young people) were increasing, decreasing or maintaining their use of screen technologies in post-lockdown UK.

Funded by Research England through the Policy Support Fund, this study broadly investigated:

  1. What were the participant’s positive and negative experiences of using screens?
  2. Comparing experiences before and after the lockdowns, in what ways specifically, had screen use changed, if at all?
  3. How much time did participants spend using different screens each day?
  4. Did they perceive any impacts of using screens on their health?
  5. Do participants want to be using more screens or less screens in the future?

This study builds upon data gathered during the ‘British Families in Lockdown’ study (BFiL) which identified that British parents considered themselves to be using screens more during the coronavirus lockdowns. It emerged from the BFiL study that many parents did not know how much screen time was considered safe or appropriate and that there was a lack of government guidance on the issue. Many felt they were using screens ‘too much’ and there were concerns about health impacts among the study participants.

This study will provide essential insights into an under-researched area of “urgent need” (House of Lords 2021) and will feed into the following government agendas:

  • The Science and Technology Committee’s inquiry into ‘The role of technology, research and innovation in the COVID-19 recovery’
  • COVID-19 Committee inquiries into ‘Living online’, ‘Life beyond COVID’ and ‘The long term impact of the pandemic on parents and families’
  • DCMS building upon ‘Online safety and online harms’ inquiry 2021.


Policy engagements

  • 9 February 2022 – Oral evidence given to ‘Impact of Technology’ POSTnote.

  • 17 February 2022 - Written evidence published by DCMS Inquiry – ‘Reimagining Where We Live: Cultural Placemaking and the Levelling Up Agenda’

  • 11 March 2022 - Written evidence provided to the ‘Impact of Technology’ POSTnote

  • 12 May 2022 Cited in ‘The impact of digital technology on arts and culture in the UK’ – UK Parliament POST 0669

  • 12 October 2022 - Written evidence published by Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Sub-committee on Online Harms and Disinformation

  • 17 October 2022 – Cited in ‘The impact of remote and hybrid working on workers and organisations’ – UK Parliament POST 0049

  • 2 November 2022 – Cited in ‘Remaining where we live: cultural placemaking and the levelling up agenda’ –Third Report of Session 2022 – 2023, Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport

  • 29 November 2022 – Oral evidence to be presented to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

  • 15 March 2023 – Proposal for Prevention in Healthcare, Published by the Health and Social Care Committee

  • 8 November 2023 – Written evidence published by the Education Committee’s inquiry, Screen Time: Impacts on education and wellbeing

  • 27 November 2023 – Oral Evidence to be presented to the Education Committee

Conference Presentations

  • 16 March 2022 – ‘Global Covid-19 Summit’ - Exploring the wider impact of Covid-19 on families worldwide. Leeds, UK.

  • 8 March 2023 – ‘Mental Health and Communication Policy Seminar’, University of Leeds, UK

  • 4 May 2023 - ‘American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Meeting’, Chicago, USA


Publications and outputs