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Increase In Screen Time for Primary School Children. What are the Consequences?

A Global Study Carried out by Anglia Ruskin University Shows that the Time Children Spend in Front of a Screen Increased Much More Radically than we had Thought.

Boy using a tablet

Photo: Unsplash

LatinAmerican Post| Juan Manuel Londoño

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Leer en español: Aumento en el tiempo de pantalla de los niños de primaria ¿Cuáles son las consecuencias?

One of the most immediate consequences of the coronavirus pandemic was the increase in the use of screens by the entire population, due to the increase in the time we spent inside our homes.

However, a global study conducted by Anglia Ruskin University shows that this time increased much more radically than previously thought.

Although the study showed an increase in screen time in all age groups, the group that saw the most time increase was between the ages of 6 to 12 years. The percentage of the day that these children spent in front of a screen increased by 83 minutes as a result of the pandemic.

What are the health consequences of spending so much time in front of a screen? We will tell you below in a simple way.

Diet and cigarette

There is a negative correlation between screen use and moderation in diet. This means that the more time we spend looking at screens every day, the more difficult it can be for us to regulate what we eat. Several studies have also shown that an increase in the time spent on the cell phone is related to a greater consumption of sugary foods.

The Anglia Ruskin University study also highlights that there is a positive correlation between the use of television screens and the desire to smoke or drink alcoholic beverages. In other words, screens also make us want to smoke and/or drink more.

Vision health

Another problem that prolonged use of screens can cause is vision difficulties. Some vision problems that prolonged screen time can cause include dry eye, sore eyes, itchy eyes, and increased sensitivity to bright light.

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Mental health

Long-term screen use has also been linked to mental health problems. In particular, it has been linked to anxiety and depression.

In children, the study highlights that there is a particularly strong correlation between mood swings and the use of mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets.

Also, in cases of prolonged screen use, the researchers said that a long tome in using a screen was also linked to greater feelings of loneliness.

Sleeping problems

In children, the study highlights that there is evidence to support the hypothesis that screen use significantly affects sleep quality. This is a major problem, as sleep affects factors such as concentration, memory, and energy throughout the day.

Physical activity

In both children and adults, prolonged screen use increases sedentary lifestyle. This can lead to other health problems, such as weight gain, lethargy, and postural problems.

What is the solution?

To reduce the use of screens by children, parental controls can be applied that limit the use of these devices to just a few hours. It is key to promote the development of physical activities in the little ones that help them socialize, such as sports.