According to a new study, it is a growing habit among British children to use multiple devices at the same time, such as B. Smartphones, computers and televisions – so-called “screen stacking”.
Researchers at the University of Leicester tracked the screen habits of 816 British girls between the ages of 11 and 14.
They found that 59 percent of girls used two or more screens at the same time on weekdays after school – but that number reached 65 percent on weekday evenings.
More than two-thirds – 68 percent – used two or more monitors at the same time over the weekend, while 36 percent said they used multiple monitors in bed.
Some of the girls admitted using up to four screens at a time, as screens are increasingly becoming “an integral part of young people’s lives”.
The researchers also identified associations between higher screen usage and lower levels of sleep and exercise, as well as a higher body mass index (BMI).
Two-thirds of teenage girls use more than one screen at the same time after school, in the evenings and on weekends.
Babies glued to tablets or TVs while in lockdown may develop symptoms similar to autism.
A 2020 study found a link between the frequency a young child watches screens and the likelihood of developing autism-like symptoms.
It found that one-year-old children who spent a lot of time looking at screens were more likely to have autism-like symptoms by the age of two.
Researchers at Drexel University in Philadelphia also found that children with less interactive play time with caregivers were more likely to develop symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
The results showed that the time spent viewing screens at 12 months of age was associated with four percent higher ASD-like symptoms.
The authors suggest that these results occur at a critical time during the coronavirus pandemic, when many children are at home all day.
The study, published in Acta Paediatrica, was led by researchers from the Diabetes Research Center at the University of Leicester.
It was conducted prior to the current pandemic, which it itself worries as it is believed that the “sitting behavior” associated with viewing a screen has increased sharply.
The experts warn that increased sedentary behavior is closely related to type 2 diabetes, in which the body does not produce enough insulin or the body cells do not respond to insulin.
“Unfortunately, this study reminds us that we are at risk of creating a new generation of sedentary children,” said study author Melanie Davies, professor of diabetes medicine at the University of Leicester.
“Longer sitting time is closely linked to type 2 diabetes, which increases in younger age groups.”
In the UK, there are concerns about the impact of screen use on the mental and physical health of young people, the team said.
And as devices become more ubiquitous, researchers are concerned about how stacking screens could make these problems worse.
The girls in the study used a variety of devices – from smartphones and tablets to PCs, game consoles like PlayStation, touchscreen music players and e-readers.
Ownership and use of the screen were reported by the participants themselves, but the researchers also measured physical activity and sleep using accelerometers worn on girls’ wrists 24 hours a day for a week.
Compared to no screen, those who used one or more screens at the weekend had less physical activity.
Compared to no screen, girls who used one to three screens after school had shorter periods of sleep on weekdays.
“Intuitively, we believe that using too many screens at the same time must have negative effects on teenagers,” said study author Dr. Deirdre Harrington from the University of Strathclyde. “Our data shows that it is not that easy.
“The effects on young people need to be known more than ever – there are undoubtedly positive aspects too.”
One limitation of the study in trying to apply the results to children in the UK as a whole is that they only used girls of a certain age.
According to Dr. Harrington did this because the girls were already involved in a large interventional study of physical activity in schools called Girls Active.
“This original intervention study was designed for girls because data shows that girls are less active as teenagers than boys,” she told MailOnline.
“Older data from the US found higher levels of multi-screen use in girls compared to boys, so it is reasonable to assume that research with boys may produce different results.
“This research was done prior to the Covid-19 lockdown, where much more of our day is spent in front of a screen.”
Researchers say “screens are an essential part of young people’s lives” (archive image)
During the Covid-19 lockdown, children spent much of their day in front of a screen, another new study suggests.
Tonies, which sells audio systems for children who use toys instead of CDs, looked at data from an April 2021 OnePoll survey of 1,000 UK parents of children ages three to eight.
On average, parents said their children had spent three hours 53 minutes a day looking at a screen for the past 12 months, but 35 percent said their children had spent more than five hours a day using their devices .
“Balancing screen time with activities like outdoor games – now that the weather is improving – is a great way to steadily reduce children’s screen time,” said Lucy Wolfe, sleep expert and head of Sleep Matters, whom Tonies partnered with engaged in research.
“A lot of parents have understandably relied on more devices and screen time to keep their kids busy at work from home, and there is a lack of alternative activities due to lockdown.”
WHAT ARE THE GUIDELINES FOR CHILDREN’S SCREEN TIME?
There are no official guidelines for screen deadlines.
However, there are calls for intervention as concerns grow about the impact of screen time and social media use on the mental health and wellbeing of young people.
The Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) and the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) both provide guidance for parents.
AAP guidelines used for reference in the study include:
- For children under 18 months of age, avoid using any screen media other than video chat.
- Parents of children aged 18-24 months who want to adopt digital media should choose high quality programs and watch them with their children to understand what they are watching.
- For children 2 to 5 years old, limit screen usage to 1 hour per day for high quality programming.
- Parents should watch media with children to understand what they are seeing and apply it to the world around them.
- Define media-free times together, e.g. B. dinner or driving, as well as media-free places at home, z. B. Bedroom.