Do screen time have negative effects on children

There are many studies that analyze the negative effect that spending a long time in front of a mobile phone could have, mainly among the smallest. Many have focused on the depression and anxiety that it can generate, others are more oriented to the health of the eye or to effects related to tics or even lack of sleep.

The fact is that studies are not lacking, and few are conclusive, but today they have presented a really interesting one in the journal PLoS ONE.

According PLOS ONE screen time is not harmful for young children, a result that they announced with phrases such as “Screens are not as dangerous as you think”, “Screens do not harm children”, “Children do not see each other Harmed by long screen times ”or“ Screens are not anxiety-inducing ”.

The study is very complete, but it must be borne in mind that it is true that there is a relationship between screen time and depression or anxiety. The issue is that many of the children who spend many hours in front of a mobile phone are due to a lack of parental attention in different ways, this being the cause of anxiety, not the mobile phone.

The study involved nearly 12,000 children ages nine to 10 from 24 cities in the United States.

According to surveys, almost all high school students and two-thirds of elementary students own a screen-based device, and spend at least a third of their day looking at them.

Other symptoms, such as sleeping habits, peer relationships and mental health, were analyzed in the study. They also got grades on school, family income, and race.

Study results

As a result:

  • There is no relationship between children’s screen time and decreased sleep quality.
  • There is no relationship between screen time and academic performance.
  • There is no relationship between screen time and mental health problems.

The study is not perfect, since many times the data provided by parents on the quality of children’s sleep may not be the real one. The same happens with mental health, it would be necessary to have objective data on the matter, something impossible to achieve today.

There are other studies that indicate that more than four hours for children can be harmful, but the objectivity of the data is still the main problem.

Research is still being carried out, such as the effects related to eye protection, posture and other possible physical problems, but also on the benefits, such as interactive, recreational or passive entertainment, since in some cases benefits can be obtained in mental health, satisfaction with the life and social interactions.

It is not about measuring the amount of screen time but the quality of that time. What is being done? That is the key question, and the answer must be digested with common sense at the fore.

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