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Study: Too much screen time causes behavioral issues



A new study suggests that children who spend more than two hours a day in front of a computer or television screen are more likely to suffer behavioral difficulties, regardless of how much physical activity they undertake. The findings cast doubt on the belief that kids can somehow “offset” the impact of too much screen time with increased activity.

The study, conducted at Bristol University in England and published in the November edition of the American journal Pediatrics, measured the time spent in front of screens by over 1,000 children aged between 10 and 11. Their psychological well-being was assessed through the children’s responses to a questionnaire which rated emotional, peer, conduct, and hyperactivity problems.

Although children who undertook moderate physical activity fared better in some areas, including emotional and peer problems, they fared worse in some areas related to behavior, including hyperactivity.

“While low levels of screen viewing may not be problematic, we cannot rely on physical activity to 'compensate' for long hours of screen viewing,” said lead author of the study Dr. Angie Page. “Watching TV or playing computer games for more than two hours a day is related to greater psychological difficulties irrespective of how active children are.”

The two hour screen time threshold appears to be significant when it comes to the psychological impact. Screen time includes television viewing, recreational computer use, and video gaming. The authors of the report conclude that limiting overall screen time may be important for ensuring children’s future health and well-being.   



Comments:
Comment by Ellen Lebowitz, posted 10/12/2010, 6:12 PM:

Lisa Guernsey wrote a great book related to this...Into the Minds of Babes: How Screen Time Affects Children From Birth to Age Five. I read it and loved it. If I had kids it would have been a great resource. Either way, it's very interesting. Thank you, Ellen Lebowitz
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