Screen time doesn't harm kids, but you should still keep an eye on it

Asia's Tech News Daily

Screen Time, Anxiety

A newly published study in the journal suggests spending time on screens is unlikely to be directly harmful to young children. The US study attracted global attention, as screen time has been commonly blamed for disrupting the healthy habits of our youth.

Headlines announced , , , and .

However, we still need to be wary of health consequences, despite the absence of strong links between screen time and children’s health. The researchers suggested screen time was not a direct cause of depression or anxiety and was linked to improved peer relations, but their findings . The study involved almost 12,000 nine-to-ten-year-olds from 24 diverse sites across the United States.

A theme emerging from careful research on screen time & kids. Negative effects are there, but too small to worry about: “the small effect sizes observed suggest that increased screen time is unlikely to be directly harmful to 9-and-10-year-old children.”

— Ethan Mollick (@emollick)

Why worry about screen time?

Young people are using screens more than ever. The average reported to be owned and used by children in Australia has reached 3.3 devices per child.

These devices include . Similar to many Western nations, children are estimated to be using a mobile device or watching television for and .

have found almost all high school students and two-thirds of primary school students own a screen-based device. Children are spending at least a staring at screens.

In Australia, and have expressed concerns that the fast uptake of digital devices (including social media use) is having negative impacts on children’s physical activity and their ability to be empathetic and focus on learning tasks.

relate to screen time being associated with depression, anxiety, self-esteem, social interactions and sleep quality.

With children using screens so much at an early age, establishing a causal link between screen time and health outcomes has become more important than ever. as a has added urgency to this research.

What did this latest study investigate?

The US study investigated the relationship between screen time and children’s academic performance, sleep habits, peer relationships and mental health.

Parents completed a screen time questionnaire, a child behavior checklist and anxiety statement scales (including sections on children internalizing or externalizing problems and attention). They reported on their child’s grades at school, their sleep quantity and quality, family income and race.

The children independently completed a 14-item screen time questionnaire about the different types of recreational media use on screens. They were also asked how many close friends they have.

I hope the myth ‘Screens=bad’ will die. What you do behind those screens matters.

Study of 12K kids find no links with depression/anxiety. More screen time = closer friends.

— Miranda van Tilburg (@DrvanTilburg)

The researchers did find small significant between children’s screen time and decreases in quality of sleep, attention, mental health and academic performance. These effects were not confirmed as directly caused by screen time.

Possible explanations for the weak links between screen time and negative health impacts include:

  1. relying on parent reporting
  2. the design of the screen time survey
  3. social quality measurement.

Parent reporting has limitations

Most of the assessment relied on parents being able to report accurately on their children’s health behaviors. Surveys and questionnaires are often more reliably completed by the , unless they are unable to do so (for example, due to illness).

It can be difficult for adults to children’s behaviors, and parents reporting on a child can lead to or less sensitive data associations. For instance, it would be very difficult to report on a child’s sleep disruptions without using a digital measuring device.

Parents are also relying on how much they see their child, the depth and openness of their conversations, various family structures, shared interests and conversations with .

Survey design matters too

It’s important that are easily understood and suitable for the participants. At the ages of nine and ten, kids could still be grappling with the meaning of the different screen time aspects of the survey. They also might not yet fully understand their own behaviors or habits.

In the screen-time questionnaire, the maximum time category was four hours a day and above. This will not identify excessive use. An of almost 600,000 children found beyond four hours (for boys) and two hours (for girls) was harmful.

Future research also needs to consider important positive screen strategies such as , , and with physical health benefits.

Other major considerations include the different ways children engage with devices. For example, screen time can involve interactional, recreational or passive entertainment. Different devices also require different levels of screen .

The different screen time intensities have levels of influence on children’s mental health, and interactions. Researchers strongly emphasize measuring the of screen time, rather than the quantity.

Screen use during the pandemic highlights the importance of quality over quantity.

How do you define close friends?

The social survey focused on how many close friends a child has. This will not always mean social quality. A child may think of all as close friends and may simply be interacting with more people when using their devices.

Because the study relied on a quantity criterion with the wording “close friends”, we can’t be sure screen time actually strengthened peer relations.

In addition, it is an early age to be measuring screen use as research shows non-sedentary behaviours (that is, physical activity) . This is when children are most active, engage in less screen time and outdoor play compared to later years of schooling.

Where to from here?

The study has laid a foundation to add further comparisons and evidence as the participants approach adulthood in the next decade. It reinforced the on children’s health and identified key trends, with boys reporting more total screen time during weekdays and weekends than girls.

Parents and teachers still need to show , as the study did find associations between screen time and a variety of negative impacts on kids’ health.

Even if the negative outcomes were not identified as major and screen time wasn’t established as the direct cause, a suggests we are unable to rule out these associations.

This article by , Associate Dean (Research), , is republished from under a Creative Commons license. Read the .

Did you know we have a newsletter all about consumer tech? It’s called Plugged In – and you can subscribe to it right here.

Internet Explorer Channel Network
Asia's Tech News Daily
News Related


3 reasons why the internet is freaking out about a robot's facial expressions

Another lifelike robot is striking horror into the hearts of humans. Named , the android can convey an impressive range of facial gestures — and people are freaking out. How ... Read more »

Climate Change Is Making Albatross Couples Split Up

Reuters Not all relationships end in “happily ever after,” and birds are no exception. While more than 90 percent of bird species form monogamous couples, many of these will end ... Read more »

The AP Interview: Scientist says omicron was a group find

Read more »

Gran, 75, travels round the whole of England using only her bus pass

Penny Ibbott, 75, raised more than £2000 for her local hospice by bussing around England using her pensioners’ pass (SWNS) A pensioner has travelled 2,200 miles around the edge of ... Read more »

Act now against Omicron to stop new Covid wave, UK ministers warned

Photograph: Neil Hall/EPA UK ministers have been warned they cannot wait for new research on the Omicron variant and must act now to prevent a potentially “very significant wave of ... Read more »

Shielders told to 'use own judgment' at Christmas in 'confusing' No 10 backtrack

The government have told the extremely clinically vulnerable to “use their individual judgement” when it comes to socialising over the Christmas period. (PA Images) The government has issued confusing advice ... Read more »

Piers Morgan blasts Alec Baldwin for 'sickening performance' in first TV interview since 'Rust' set shooting

Watch: Alec Baldwin doesn't feel guilt over fatal Rust shooting Piers Morgan has slammed Alec Baldwin’s interview on the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, accusing the actor of “crocodile ... Read more »

Toddler coughs up three-inch leech which had been ‘feeding off them for months'

A three-year-old child had a leech removed from their throat after suffering nose bleeds and coughing for months (Jason Brotherton) A leech who pulled a three-inch leech from the throat ... Read more »

‘Very stringent COVID rules' may be required to contain large Omicron wave, warns Sage

Coronavirus guidance on signs in Nottingham,where one of the first cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 was identified last week (Joe Giddens/PA Images via Getty Images) Scientists advising the ... Read more »

Teenager Discovers 3,000-Year-Old Ax from the Bronze Age: 'We Were Just Laughing Our Heads Off'

Teenager Discovers 3,000-Year-Old Ax from the Bronze Age SWNS Milly Hardwick with the ax A day spent metal detecting took an exciting turn for one 13-year-old girl after she discovered ... Read more »

Accountant, 29, raped woman who thought she was having sex with his friend

Ibraheem Egunbambi had been turned down by the woman before he raped her (Reach) An accountant who raped a woman at a party while she thought she was having sex ... Read more »

More than $ 100 million worth of metaverse land was sold in one week

Since Facebook announced its switch to Meta and its future plans to create a metaverse, the existing ones have gained popularity. The biggest racked up $ 100 million selling NFTs ... Read more »

Total solar eclipse: Where to see it live

Tonight from December 3 to 4 there will be a total solar eclipse that will be seen in full from Antarctica where teams of scientists will carry out important studies ... Read more »

Playboy will compete with OnlyFans in the Metaverse and rapper Cardi B will be creative director of the project

Following the death of its legendary founder, Hugh Hefner , in September 2017, the adult entertainment firm Playboy entered a process of restructuring and reinvention. In order to take the ... Read more »

What makes Spotify's Wrapped such a popular end-of-year tradition? FOMO

Obsessed with the Olivia Rodrigo album that came out this year? Did you listen to a podcast for more hours than you realized? Or have you been stuck in the ... Read more »

Get up to $200 in gift cards and free earbuds when you switch to Verizon's Visible wireless service now

— Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission. Ready to switch wireless carriers? Visible is giving customers reasons to ... Read more »

Elon Musk replies to a tweet about web 3.0 saying it sounds like "crap"

The term web 3.0 is one that has been getting around a lot lately. It refers to the evolution that many believe the Internet will have, including features such as ... Read more »

Rocket Lab announces the construction of Neutron, a reusable rocket that will become the competition of SpaceX and Blue Origin

The American company founded by Peter Beck spoke about the details of its new rocket, Neutron , in a presentation broadcast live on YouTube. This will aim to put satellites ... Read more »

ISS just had to swerve out of the way of space junk left over from 1994

The International Space Station just had to dodge space junk in orbit, demonstrating the increasing risk to the orbital station and smaller satellites from the proliferation of space trash in ... Read more »

FTC launches lawsuit to block Nvidia's 'anticompetitive' Arm acquisition

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has sued to block Nvidia’s $40bn acquisition of Arm over concerns that the combined firm would stifle competition as well as innovation in the ... Read more »

Workspot DaaS review

Workspot is a SaaS platform and cloud PC service that offers and manages virtual desktops for enterprise organizations. Its key customers have advanced security needs and require high-performing, reliable computing ... Read more »

Pretty much all Wi-Fi routers are vulnerable to attack, study finds

In a shocking revelation, cybersecurity researchers have discovered over 200 bugs in Wi-Fi routers made by nine popular manufacturers, suggesting that millions of the most common devices around the world ... Read more »

Meta head of experimentation says failure is his number one priority

Ime Archibong, Head of New Product Experimentation at Meta (née Facebook), says designing truly innovative products in the tech sector is all about failing, but doing so quickly. Speaking at ... Read more »

How to watch Demon Slayer: Entertainment District Arc online from anywhere

Returning for its second act, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba ‘Entertainment District Arc’ reacquaints Anime fans with Tanjiro Kamoda, a demon slayer apprentice, who finds his path following the slaughter ... Read more »

Forget Spotify Wrapped, groove to the sound of black holes colliding

How do you convey the yawning abyss of infinity that is a black hole to a person who hasn’t immersed themselves in non-Euclidean geometries with infinite dimensions, the ‘math side’ ... Read more »

Why Qualcomm believes its new always-on camera for phones isn't a security risk

One of the biggest new features of the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset is an always-on camera. Yes, you read that right. An always-on camera on your phone. It ... Read more »

Where's the snow? Rockies winter starts with a whimper

The Associated PressDrew Darnell rides his skateboard at Cheesman Park Pavilion on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021, in Denver. The city is close to breaking a record for its longest streak ... Read more »

Lexus RZ teaser gives us our first glimpse at the firm's first dedicated electric car

Lexus has given us our first look at its next EV. Dubbed the Lexus RZ, a 28 second teaser video (which you can see above) shows the exterior styling from ... Read more »

Ginger writing tool review

It’s been a while since writing assist tools arrived on the market, and they’ve managed to establish a solid reputation among professional writers and even some hobbyist communities. There is ... Read more »

Microsoft Teams update will stop you annoying your colleagues

Microsoft is working on a simple update for Teams that should help address common issues with international collaboration. According to a new entry in the company’s product roadmap, Microsoft Teams ... Read more »

China aiming for DNA storage supremacy as it races towards solid-state device

After Microsoft’s DNA storage announcement and that of the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI), a team from China led by Liu Hong, a professor at Southeast University in the country’s ... Read more »

Microsoft reverses change in Windows 11 that made it hard to switch browsers

Microsoft is reversing a change in the newly released Windows 11 which made it very hard to change your default browser via the system settings. Microsoft released the Windows 11 ... Read more »

US govt phones 'hacked with NSO spyware'

Apple iPhones of at least nine US State Department employees were hacked by an unknown assailant using sophisticated spyware developed by the Israel-based NSO Group, according to four people familiar ... Read more »

Didn't find a Cyber Monday TV deal? These Sony 4K TVs have you covered

Sony makes some top-tier TVs, so it’s well worth paying attention when they’re on sale. And despite Black Friday and Cyber Monday now being over, you can still get some ... Read more »

United dragged by Twitter over greenwashing with its ‘100% sustainable fuel' flight

Wednesday was a “historic” day for aviation, United Airlines . Boeing 737 MAX 8 flew from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and headed to Reagan National Airport in Washington, DC, marking ... Read more »

There's still an amazing Cyber Monday on the powerful Alienware m15 R4 Gaming Laptop

Cyber Monday is behind us, but Dell still has some incredible laptop deals available. There’s a massive $610 discount on Dell’s all-powerful Alienware m15 R4 Gaming Laptop. It’s an incredible ... Read more »

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes: ‘Cruel' stepmother who murdered boy is attacked with salt in jail by inmates

The stepmother and father of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes have been jailed over the six-year-old’s killing in Solihull (PA) An “instinctively cruel” stepmother convicted of murdering her partner's six-year-old son was threatened ... Read more »

Nicola Sturgeon blames Steps concert for omicron Covid outbreak

Steps singing on stage in 1999 – Nikos/Shutterstock Nicola Sturgeon has blamed a Steps concert for an outbreak of the omicron Covid variant in Scotland. The First Minister said the ... Read more »

Bereaved families ‘sickened' by No 10 lockdown parties

Boris Johnson in front of the Downing Street Christmas tree in 2020 (Justin Tallis/PA) Families who lost loved ones during the pandemic say they are “sickened” by reports that Downing ... Read more »

George Clooney turned down $35m for one day of work

Watch: George Clooney turned down $35m for one day of work George Clooney has revealed he once turned down $35 million (£29.8 million) for one day’s work. The actor has ... Read more »
On you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic