Screen time linked to psychological problems in children

Oct 11, 2010
Screen time linked to psychological problems in children

(PhysOrg.com) -- 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.

The PEACH project, a study of over a 1,000 children aged between ten and 11, measured the time children spent in front of a screen as well as their psychological well being. In addition, an activity monitor recorded both children's sedentary time and moderate physical activity. The results showed that more than two hours per day of both and recreational computer use were related to higher psychological difficulty scores, regardless of how much time the children spent on physical activity.

The authors of the report, published in the November edition of the American journal Pediatrics, conclude that limiting children's screen time may be important for ensuring children's future health and wellbeing.

According to the activity monitor, the children in the study who spent more time sedentary had better psychological scores overall. Those 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 .

Lead author Dr Angie Page from the University of Bristol's Centre for Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences said: "Whilst low levels of screen viewing may not be problematic, we cannot rely on to 'compensate' for long hours of screen viewing.

" 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 wellbeing was assessed on the basis of a strengths and difficulties questionnaire which rated their emotional, peer, conduct and hyperactivity problems.

The 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 wellbeing 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'.

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More information: pediatrics.aappublications.org/

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User comments : 6

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feOly
5 / 5 (3) Oct 11, 2010
Did they test parents's psychological wellbeing on the study also?
Too much hours spent on the screen could mean just other problems at home...
philosothink
5 / 5 (1) Oct 11, 2010
I agree. I cannot help but wonder if these were kids babysat by a tv/computer or if they were with INVOLVED parents. Why the child is watching must have some relevance. Kids who are ditched by parents have a whole different psychological makeup than kids whose parents are involved in the lives of their children.
Grallen
not rated yet Oct 11, 2010
It seems they ignored the inverse question. Is it "Watching TV" that causes a problem or is it the problem that causes "Watching TV".

It's often the inverse of what people think is obvious that is the truth.
NameIsNotNick
5 / 5 (4) Oct 11, 2010
Did anyone actually read the article? It's about correlation, not causation. It poses a question.. it doesn't attempt to answer it.
frajo
1 / 5 (1) Oct 11, 2010
It seems they ignored the inverse question. Is it "Watching TV" that causes a problem or is it the problem that causes "Watching TV".
Assuming it is a problem that causes "watching TV" there should have been a different effect caused by this problem in the pre-TV era. Which effect has been replaced by the effect "watching TV"?
ArcainOne
not rated yet Oct 11, 2010
Read the article
According to the activity monitor, the children in the study who spent more time sedentary had better psychological scores overall. Those 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.


Sedentary means couch potato, i.e. watching tv or playing computer