October 18, 2010

Screen Time Causes Problems In Children

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Fact: the youth of today are spoiled.  Children no longer have to get up from the soft, pliable comforts of their microfiber reclining chairs to experience life.  And why should they when they can experience it through a high definition screen, right?  However, a recent study reveals children who spend longer than two hours in front of a computer or television screen are more likely to suffer psychological difficulties, regardless of how physically active they are.

Welcome to the PEACH project; a comprehensive study of over 1,000 children between the ages of ten and eleven.  This project involved measuring the amount of time children spent in front of a screen in addition to their utter happiness and welfare.  Furthermore, an activity monitor documented both children's sedentary time as well as moderate physical activity.  Researchers concluded that spending more than two hours per day of both television viewing along with recreational computer use were related to elevated psychological difficulty scores, despite how much physical activity the child participated in.

Limiting a child's screen time may be imperative for ensuring your child's future and wellbeing.

The activity monitor showed that children who spent more time sedentary had better psychological scores overall.  Those children who participated in more moderate physical activity fared better in particular psychological areas, among emotional and peer problems, yet fared worse in areas related to behavior, including but not limited to hyperactivity.

"Whilst low levels of screen viewing may not be problematic, we cannot rely on physical activity to 'compensate' for long hours of screen viewing," which Dr. Angie Page, lead author of the study and researcher from the University of Bristol's Centre for Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences, was quoted as saying.

"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," Page added.

Based on a strengths and difficulties questionnaire, the children's psychological wellbeing was rated on behalf of their emotional, peer, conduct and hyperactivity problems.  The children were asked to rate a chain of statements as true on a three-point scale, varying from not true, to somewhat true, to certainly true.  To assess their emotional wellbeing, statements included; 'I am often unhappy, down-hearted or tearful', while statements to assess their peer problems included; 'I am usually on my own', 'I generally play alone or keep to myself'.

SOURCE: Pediatrics, November 2010