Youth screen time up 52 percent during pandemic: Study – The Hill

Youth screen time up 52 percent during pandemic: Study – The Hill

story at a glance

  • New research found the average screen time among young people aged 18 and under was 84 minutes per day during the COVID-19 pandemic, compared to previously measured rates.

  • The findings reflect similar fluctuations in screen time seen among American youth during the pandemic.

  • Experts worry that the increase may impair eye health and contribute to low physical activity rates.

Screen time among children and adolescents around the world increased by more than 50 percent during the COVID-19 pandemic compared to rates measured before the crisis.

This is according to a review and meta-analysis published in JAMA Pediatrics Which included data from more than 29,000 youth aged 18 years and under. Data were collected from 46 studies examining changes in daily screen time among youth around the world. Of those studies, 26 percent were done in North America.

The results are similar to the increase in screen time documented among American youth during the pandemic. 12 to 13 year olds in May 2020 doubled their non-school-related screen timewhile a Survey done in the fall of 2020 More than a third of American children reported excessive screen time.

The researchers found that the 52 percent increase equates to a jump of about 84 minutes per day, and corresponds to a daily average of 246 minutes of screen time per day during the pandemic.

The increase was highest in individuals aged 12 to 18, whose screen time increased by 110 minutes per day, and for use of personal computers and handheld devices. The researchers noted that adolescents in this age group were more likely than younger children to own and access digital devices.

About 95 percent of American teens report access to one smart fone in 2022, and 46 percent say they use the Internet “almost constantly”.

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“Adolescents were more likely than younger children during the pandemic to seek out new outlets for creative expression, learn new skills, and build on existing skills in a remote context, most of which took place on digital devices,” he said.

Based on the findings, “clinicians working with children, adolescents and families should focus on promoting healthy device habits among youth, including moderating and monitoring daily use, choosing age-appropriate schedules and This may include prioritizing device-free time with family and friends,” the authors wrote.

american expert Is raised concerns About the potential negative effects of excessive screen time on children’s eye health.

Excessive meta-analysis Published in July found that children’s engagement in moderate to vigorous physical activity decreased by 32 percent during the pandemic globally, while in the United States, Parents reported their children’s physical activity Decreased in the early days of the epidemic and increased sedentary behavior.

These changes were more pronounced in older children. Along with playing computer or video games, watching television, videos or movies was one of the most common sedentary behaviors.

The sharp increase in screen time is due to school and other activities going online. Many children also used technology to occupy their time during the pandemic. Before COVID-19, youths spent about 162 minutes a day looking at screens.

Previous research has shown that increased child screen time and poor sleep, physical activity, mental health, eye health and academic results, the researchers wrote, while most parents Many are unaware of the health problems associated with excessive screen time among children.

However, a recent study suggested playing video games It may be associated with higher cognitive performance, especially in children who play for at least three hours a day.

The JAMA researchers also note that most apps designed for children use manipulative techniques to maintain their attention.

Several states in the US have introduced laws aimed at curbing addictive characteristics Apps like Instagram and TikTok have traditionally had young user bases. Last week, advocates urged the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation to move on child online safety actWhich, if implemented, would disable the addictive features and opt out of algorithmic recommendations.

Seventy-five percent of the young people included in the review were male, while the average child age was 9 years.

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