Archived Story

Editorial: Screen time a concern for psychological health

Published 2:11am Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2010

We’ve been bombarded with data about the onset of obesity in young children being linked to sedentary hours logged in front of a computer or television screen.

New research is making a connection with mental health problems, too.

A study of 1,000 kids ages 10 and 11 tracked their activity levels and relied on questionnaires to compare their screen time and social behavior.

Not surprisingly, those who spent more than two hours a day in front of a screen were found to be more likely to have emotional difficulties, hyperactivity or problems relating to other people, compared with kids who watched less TV or spent less time online.

Children who were more physically active than their sedentary peers reported fewer problems.

But here’s the clincher: increasing exercise levels did not mitigate social and behavioral difficulties associated with excessive computer use or television viewing.

These results reinforce the idea of limiting youngsters’ screen time.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than two hours daily.

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