A Canadian study found that kids who spend a lot of time on the screen are more likely to be depressed and anxious and have more problems with their behavior.
Children’s daily routines have been drastically changed as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, primarily as a result of the public health measures implemented, such as distancing, isolation, and school closures.
Research conducted prior to the pandemic consistently demonstrated that high levels of screen time are associated with depression, anxiety, conduct disorders, and attention problems in children and adolescents, although the relationship between screen time and these problems cannot be conclusively established.
The current study established that social isolation-related stress was associated with declines in many areas of mental health during COVID-19.
Between May 2020 and April 2021, the researchers tracked the screen time of around 2,000 children and teenagers aged 2 to 18 years in Ontario, Canada, across four cohorts of children or youth: two community cohorts and two clinically referred cohorts.
Over the course of COVID-19, parents were asked to answer multiple questionnaires about their children’s health habits as well as their children’s psychological problems.
The study including 2026 children with 6648 observations revealed that in younger children median age 5.9 years; 275 male participants (51.7%), higher TV or digital media time was associated with higher levels of conduct problems and hyperactivity/inattention.
In older children and youth median age 11.3 years; 844 male participants (56.5%), higher levels of TV or digital media time were associated with higher levels of depression, anxiety, and inattention; higher levels of video game time were associated with higher levels of depression, irritability, inattention, and hyperactivity.
According to the researchers, children aged two to four who spent more time on screens were more likely to have behavioral problems, hyperactivity, and inattention, while teenagers who spent more time on screens, including t.v., video games, and online learning, had higher levels of depression and anxiety.
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