Increased screen time during the COVID-19 pandemic ruined mental health in children, says a study conducted by Jama Network Open this week. The extra screen time not only affected mental health but also showed behavioral and attention problems.
The study took into account more than 2000 children aged between 2 to 18 in Ontario, Canada. It was discovered that mental health problems are linked with the increased time spent watching television, playing video games, and using other devices.
The study showed that children that spent 2 to 3 hours a day watching television, playing video games, etc had higher rates of depression, anxiety, irritability, hyperactivity, and attention problems.
These symptoms increased significantly when the same children spent 9 or more hours on screens and electronic devices in general. This was common during the early part of the COVID-19 pandemic when people were spending more time at home with laptops and smartphones.
Study co-author Dr. Catherine S. Birken said:
Compared to children and youth with lower screen use, those with higher screen use had higher levels of mental health symptoms. The more time kids spent on screens, the larger the effect was.
In the end, the study suggests that “policy intervention, as well as evidence-informed social supports”, are needed to promote healthful screen use and mental health in children”.
You can read the detailed report on Jama Network.