According to a recent study, screen usage among kids increased by 52% during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The increase translates to an additional 84 minutes each day spent watching television, using a computer, or using a phone. According to the study published in JAMA Pediatrics, that represents an increase from the pre-pandemic baseline of 162 minutes per day to 246 minutes during the pandemic.
The conclusions were based on information from 46 investigations carried out in different countries throughout the world. Between January 1, 2020, and March 5, 2022, the screen usage of roughly 30,000 kids between the ages of 3 and 18 was investigated. According to the study, youngsters aged 12 to 18 showed the largest growth since they were more likely to own their own gadgets.
According to the study, some of the growth was caused by online schooling. Also, since face-to-face encounters were discouraged by COVID, youngsters turned to their phones and other electronic gadgets to stay in touch with their pals.
The findings should be compared to those of other studies that revealed a decline in children’s physical activity during the pandemic, according to the researchers from the University of Calgary, Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute, and University College Dublin.
They said, “These results should be taken into account in conjunction with another meta-analysis revealing a 32% decline in children’s engagement in moderate to vigorous physical activity during the pandemic.” In order to satisfy the 24-hour movement criteria, “policy-relevant pandemic recovery planning and resource allocation should examine ways to enable children, adolescents, and families to “sit less and play more.”
According to the study’s findings, an increase in screen time could cause long-term issues and necessitate “recovery initiatives” to encourage positive device behaviours, such as “moderating daily use, monitoring content, and promoting the use of screens as a creative outlet and to meaningfully connect with others.”
The lack of samples from South Africa and the small number of samples from South America and the Middle East were two limitations of the study, which meant that “findings may be relevant mainly to select geographic regions of the world.”
The study confirms earlier studies. According to a research that was published in JAMA Pediatrics about a year ago, recreational screen usage among American teenagers increased from two hours per day before the pandemic to almost eight hours per day during the pandemic.