Anglia Ruskin University research reveals children's screen time has increased by 90 minutes a day

Children increase their time in front of TVs and mobile phones Credit: PA Wire

Children aged between six and 10 increased their screen time by nearly an hour and a half every day during the pandemic, according to new research.

Adults increased their time in front of computer screens and mobile phones by nearly an hour a day, while for children aged between 11 and 17 it was up by 55 minutes.

Scientists looked at how long people of all ages were in front of a screen, how it changed during the pandemic and what the health effects were.

Senior author Prof Shahina Pardhan, from Anglia Ruskin University, said: “This study is the first of its kind to look systematically at peer-reviewed research papers on increases in screen time during the pandemic and its impact.

“The overall picture provides clear evidence that screen time should be reduced wherever possible to minimise potential negative outcomes.

“These include adverse dietary behaviours, sleep, mental health, and eye health effects."

Researchers analysed 89 different studies focusing on increases in screen time before and during the pandemic, in detail, giving a total sample size of more than 200,000 people.

The study also looked at the types of screen time, and found that leisure screen time, or screen time not related to work or study, also increased in all age groups.

Increases in screen time were found to be associated with poorer diet in children, poor eye health, deteriorating mental health, including anxiety, and behavioural problems such as aggression, irritability and the increased frequency of temper tantrums.

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