Latest report suggests the harmful effects of excessive screen time are overrated
Last week, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) suggested that there was little evidence that screen use was harmful to children.
In its review of evidence published by the BMJ Open medical journal, the RCPCH told parents to worry less about the amount of time spent looking at a screen, but with the caveat that it should be avoided an hour before bedtime.
The review also looked into claims of an association between higher screen use and obesity and depression, stating that there was no clear evidence to support the theory that screen use was the cause of the issue and not a symptom.
With previous advice being to limit screen time, or indeed, use screen time as a controlled reward for good behaviour, the message is still unclear.
However, in the interest of health and well-being, is it more a case of what the screen time is being used for, rather than for how long?
Spending time online researching information for homework or enjoining a film with the family seem to present healthy screen use. However, spending time on social media sites, craving followers and likes is perhaps more damaging as highlighted by a recent BBC feature.
Update 11th April 2019In a recent study by the Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford, it was found that screen time had little effect on the wellbeing of teenagers.
According to the study findings, "The notion that digital-screen engagement decreases adolescent well-being has become a recurring feature in public, political, and scientific conversation. The current level of psychological evidence, however, is far removed from the certainty voiced by many commentators. There is little clear-cut evidence that screen time decreases adolescent well-being".
The report also noted that the research found "little evidence for substantial negative associations between digital-screen engagement—measured throughout the day or particularly before bedtime—and adolescent well-being".
The full study findings can be viewed here.