Kids spent almost 90 extra minutes a day looking at screens during the pandemic

The 52 percent increase, from 2.7 to 4.1 hours, coincided with isolation.

The 52 percent increase, from 2.7 to 4.1 hours, coincided with isolation.

Photo: Nadine Doerle/Pixabay

Children spent almost 90 extra minutes each day looking at screens during the pandemic, according to new research; the little ones spent an average of more than four hours on tablets, smartphones and in front of the television.

This was 84 minutes longer than before the Covid-19 outbreak., mainly due to portable devices and personal computers. The increases were highest for youth ages 12 to 18.

The 52 percent increase, from 2.7 to 4.1 hours, coincided with isolationsocial distancing and the cancellation of extracurricular activities, according to the study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.

Corresponding author Professor Sheri Madigan, from the University of Calgary in Canada, said: «This study shows an association between the Covid-19 pandemic and increases in screen time. Professionals and pandemic recovery initiatives should focus on fostering healthy device habits, including moderate use, content control, prioritizing device-free time, and using screens for creativity or connection.”

Too much increases the risk of a number of conditions including vision impairment and neck and shoulder strain. It also encourages sedentary behavior and overeating, which can lead to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease later in life.

School closures sparked an unprecedented move toward remote learning. Young people were left to depend on digital devices. The international team gathered data from 46 studies from around the world involving a total of 29,000 children and adolescents.

Madigan said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has caused considerable disruption to the lives and routines of children, adolescents and families, which is likely to be associated with increased levels of screen time.

“The findings suggest that when interacting with children and caregivers, professionals need to focus critically on promoting healthy habits with devices. It can include moderating daily use, choosing age-appropriate programs, promoting device-free time, sleep, and physical activity, and encouraging children to use screens as a creative outlet or means to meaningfully connect with others. the rest».

Stressed parents also experienced significant challenges, such as financial instability, job insecurity, loss of childcare, and increased homeschooling responsibilities.

Madigan said: “In coping with such unprecedented disruptions to normal living conditions, many children and families have likely used digital devices to occupy their time during the pandemic. Therefore, population-level increases in screen time for children and adolescents were expected.”

At the same time, children’s participation in moderate to vigorous physical activity during the pandemic is estimated to have dropped by a third.

Madigan said: “Pandemic recovery planning and policy-relevant resource allocation must therefore consider how to help children, adolescents and families ‘sit less and play more’ in order to meet safety guidelines. 24 hour movement.

The NHS advises children aged five to 18 to aim for an average of at least 60 minutes of moderate- or vigorous-intensity physical activity a day during the week.

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