Screen time is unlikely to directly harm children, according to a study recently published in the journal PLoS One.
The study garnered global attention as screen time was accused of disrupting children’s habits.
Screen time is not harmful to children
The study in PLoS A revealed that screen time isn’t as bad as parents think. However, parents should always be wary of health consequences despite the lack of connection between screen time and children’s overall health.
The researchers suggested that screen time was not a direct cause of anxiety or depression. This was linked to improved peer relations, but the findings come with caveats. The study involved 12,000 children ages 9 to 10 from 24 sites across the United States.
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Why Are Parents Worried About Screen Time?
Children are using screens more than ever. The average number of digital devices with screens owned and used by children has reached 3.3 devices per child, according to The next web.
Devices include smartphones, laptops, tablets, TVs, gaming devices, and desktops.
As in many Western countries, children are said to use a mobile device or watch TV for at least 4 hours a day, which exceeds health guidelines.
Surveys have found that almost all high school students and two-thirds of elementary school students have their own devices. Children spend a third of their day looking at screens looking at something.
Because of this trend, teachers and parents have expressed concern that the rapid adoption of digital devices is having negative effects on children’s physical activity and also affecting their ability to empathize.
Screen time is also blamed for the lack of focus on learning tasks.
Most screen time concerns relate to anxiety, self-esteem, depression, social interactions, and quality of sleep.
With children using screens at a very young age, making the occasional link between screen time and health outcomes has become more important than ever.
Exposure to the digital screen has doubled since the 1990s, and increased use of the screen during the peak of the pandemic made research more urgent, according to The conversation.
The study examined the link between screen time and children’s academic performance, sleep patterns, mental health, and peer relationships.
Parents were asked to complete a Screen Time Questionnaire and Child Behavior Checklist. They were also asked to review an anxiety reporting scale, including sections on children internalizing or externalizing issues and attention.
They also reported on their child’s school grades, amount of sleep, quality of sleep, family income, and race.
The kids were given a different set and were asked to complete a 14 item screen time quiz on the different types of recreational media used on screens. They were also asked how many close friends they currently have.
Researchers have found a small link between excessive screen time and a decrease in a child’s focus, mental health, quality and quantity of sleep, and academic performance. However, these effects have not been confirmed to be directly caused by too long screen time.
Possible explanations for weak links between screen time and negative health impacts include relying on parental reports, designing the screen time survey, and measuring quality. social.
In 2019, a similar study suggested that screen time doesn’t hurt a teen’s well-being.
Associated article: IOS 12’s screen time feature to limit iPhone usage is no match for kids: Apple, help us!
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Written by Sophie Webster
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