November 2019 – Researchers from San Diego State University and the University of Georgia have studied a 2016 nationwide health survey of more than 40,000 American children, ages 2 to 17. Using questions answered by the children’s parents, the study focused on the effects of technology on the mental health of children.
“Half of mental health problems develop by adolescence,” said professors Jean Twenge and Keith Campbell. The researchers asserted the great need for identifying factors that lead to mental health detriment.
Children spending more than seven hours per day watching a screen were twice as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety or depression as those who spent only one hour. Screen use of four hours was still associated with lower psychological well-being. Preschool children who spent high amounts of time in front of a screen were twice as likely to lose their temper often and 46% more prone to be unable to calm down
The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests screen time limits of one hour per day for two- to five-year-old children, and as much as two hours for school-age children. The U.S. National Institutes of Health, however, estimated children and adolescents commonly use screens five to seven hours during daily leisure time.