Leading Children’s Health Expert Dr Aric Sigman talks to Victoria College about mental health, screen time, ‘soft’ drugs and alcohol awareness

Dr Sigman is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology, Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society and a Chartered Scientist awarded by the Science Council. As a health education specialist, he lectures at colleges, medical schools, to NHS doctors and has a long history of health education work for children and young people.

As part of his visit, Dr Sigman will be offering two talks specifically for parents on the evening of Wednesday 4 March in the Great Hall; ‘Managing Screen Time’ and ‘Preventing Mental Health Problems in Children’.


Screen ‘addiction’ is a term increasingly being used by doctors to describe the growing number of children engaging in screen activities in a dependent manner.  Whether it’s social media, the Internet or computer games, screen time is no longer merely a cultural issue about how children spend their leisure time, nor is it confined to concern over the educational value or appropriate/inappropriate content.  It has become a medical issue. 

Parents will understand:

  • How excessive recreational screen time may affect cognitive skills, attention, brain development, literacy and academic achievement
  • How much and what type of electronic media children should be using before and after school hours, and at what ages
  • What ‘multi-tasking’ may do to children’s minds and brains
  • What schools and parents can do to prevent problems and improve matters


This talk will spell out practical and achievable yet under-acknowledged steps that parents, schools and pupils can take to strengthen children’s mental health and resilience and reduce the risk of mental health problems developing.  With attention currently focusing on identifying and treating children with mental health problems once they arise, there is little attention on preventing mental health problems arising.   While a child’s life and family circumstances as well as genes are obvious factors influencing their mental health, there are additional lifestyle and family factors that we do have some control over and that can make an enormous difference to a child’s mental wellbeing.

Victoria College student’s mental health and wellbeing is of paramount priority and the College work hard to ensure that all students have access to the support they need. Support initiatives range from; inclusion specialists, special educational needs coordinators (SENCO), counselling, pastoral care, PSHE, Student Council and Student Voice forums.