During the Covid pandemic, children spent more time on computers and phones: Study

Edited By: Moohita Kaur Garg
New Delhi, India Updated: Jun 24, 2022, 11:39 PM(IST)

The biggest increases were seen in elementary school students, who added 83 minutes each day. Adults came next, taking 58 minutes, followed by teenagers (ages 11 to 17), taking 55 minutes. The least amount of time spent watching screens—35 minutes—was increased in children under five, yet even this small rise is nevertheless substantial. Photograph:( Others )

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Researchers found a link between screen time and children's poor diets, poor eye health, declining mental health, including anxiety, and behavioural issues like aggression, irritability, and an increase in temper tantrum frequency

Two years back the pandemic put an end to life as we knew it, millions all over the world were stuck at home, with not much to do. At a time like that most of us turned to the solace of social media, movies, and television. But how much time did we really spend glued to our screens? 

As per a Guardian report, a global review of research on this shows that among children screen time during the COVID-19 pandemic increased on average by 80 plus minutes a day. The biggest daily increase was witnessed among the age group of six and ten. However, a "significant" increase was seen among all age groups including adults.

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The biggest increases were seen in elementary school students, who added 83 minutes each day. Adults came next, taking 58 minutes, followed by teenagers (ages 11 to 17), taking 55 minutes. The least amount of time spent watching screens—35 minutes—was increased in children under five, yet even this small rise is nevertheless substantial.

89 studies from nations like the UK, US, Australia, France, Chile, and Israel were examined by researchers. With a total sample size of more than 200,000 persons, the investigation specifically examined increases in screen usage before and during the pandemic.

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The researchers stated in eClinicalMedicine, a publication of the Lancet Discovery Science journal, "This review found that all age groups increased their total screen time." 

"Leisure screen time also increased in all age groups, with primary-aged children reporting the largest increases, followed by adults, young children and adolescents.”

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Researchers found a link between screen time and children's poor diets, poor eye health, declining mental health, including anxiety, and behavioural issues like aggression, irritability, and an increase in temper tantrum frequency. This included time spent watching television or using a computer.

The study also found associations between increased screen usage and unfavourable outcomes in adults. These included negative effects on weight gain, fatigue, and physical inactivity as well as negative impacts on diet, weight, eye health, and mental health, including loneliness, depression, and anxiety.

(With inputs from agencies)

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