Screen time linked to psychological problems in children

Children who spend longer than two hours a day in front of a computer or television screen are more likely to suffer psychological difficulties, regardless of how physically active they are, claims new research.

Children who spend longer than two hours a day in front of a computer or television screen are more likely to suffer psychological difficulties, regardless of how physically active they are, claims new research.
The PEACH project, carried out by Bristol University, made a study of 1,000 children aged between 10 and 11and measured the time youngsters spent in front of a screen as well as their psychological well being.
An acitivity monitor recorded their sedentary time and moderate physical activity.
The results showed that more than two hours per day of both television viewing and recreational computer use were linked to higher psychological difficulty scores, regardless of how much time the children spent on physical activity.
The report, which is to be published in the November edition of the American journal Pediatrics, concluded that limiting screen time may be important for ensuring children’s future health and well being.
According to the activity monitor, the children in the study who spent more time sedentary had better psychological scores overall.
Children who did more moderate physical activity fared better in certain psychological areas, including emotional and peer problems, but fared worse in some areas related to behaviour, including hyperactivity.
Lead author Dr Angie Page, from Bristol University’s Centre for Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences, said: ”Whilst low levels of screen viewing may not be problematic, we cannot rely on physical activity to ‘compensate’ for long hours of screen viewing.
”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.”
Children’s psychological well being was assessed on the basis of a strengths and difficulties questionnaire which rated their emotional, peer, conduct and hyperactivity problems.
The children were asked to rate a series of statements as true on a three-point scale, varying from not true, to somewhat true, to certainly true.
Statements to assess their emotional well being included, ‘I am often unhappy, down-hearted or tearful’, or ‘I am usually on my own’, or ‘I generally play alone or keep to myself’.





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