People of all ages spent more time staring at their television, computer, tablet, or smartphone during the COVID-19 outbreak, but especially among kids between the ages of 6 and 10, according to recent research.
Children in elementary school between the ages of 6 and 10 had the biggest increases in screen usage, averaging 1 hour and 23 minutes (83 minutes) per day more than they did before the epidemic.
The screen time of adults (18 and older) and young people (11 to 17) grew by over an hour, to 58 minutes and 55 minutes, respectively. Young children under 5 saw the smallest increase in screen usage, rising by “just” 35 minutes.
“This study is the foremost of its kind to look in a systematic way at peer-reviewed research papers on increases in screen time in the pandemic and its impact,” the study’s senior author and professor at Anglia Ruskin University in the UK, Shahina Pardhan, mentioned in the statement.
Over 200,000 people made up the overall sample size when researchers combined data from 89 independent studies from the US, Australia, France, Chile, Israel, and other nations, with an emphasis on increases in screen usage before and during the epidemic.
She added, “By bringing together multiple studies, we get a much more exact picture of screen time among the population & its associated health repercussions. The overall picture provides clear proof that screen time should be reduced wherever possible to minimise potential negative outcomes.”
Increases in screen usage among youngsters have been linked to poor nutrition, poor eye health, declining mental health (including anxiety), and behavioural issues, including aggressiveness, impatience, and an uptick in temper tantrums.
However, there are numerous correlations between increased screen time and detrimental outcomes for adults as well, including negative effects on diet, eye health, mental health (such as anxiety, depression, and loneliness), and general health (fatigue, decreased physical activity, and weight loss). Increased screen time also has a negative impact on children.
“It is also vital that non-sedentary activities are encouraged to mitigate the risks of increased screen time,” Pardhan underlined.