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Parents should limit children's screen time

11th October 2010

Researchers from the University of Bristol have said that children who use computers or watch television for longer than two hours per day have an increased risk of psychological problems.

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The study, which was published in Pediatrics,  involved over 1,000 children aged around ten.

The researchers took measurements to determine how long each child spent in front of television or computer screens, and also assessed their psychological health using a questionnaire.

The amount of time the children spent sitting down and exercising was also measured over a week using an activity monitor.

The questionnaires assessed psychological health in five areas: emotional problems, behaviour, hyperactivity and attention difficulties, friends and peers, and problems with friends and peers.

The researchers found that the children who spent over two hours in front of a screen had more psychological problems. The risk of difficulties also went up if the children did not achieve the recommended daily levels of exercise (less than an hour per day).

Dr Angie Page, lead study author from the University of Bristol's centre for exercise, nutrition and health sciences, said: "Whilst low levels of screen viewing may not be problematic, we cannot rely on physical activity to compensate for long hours of screen viewing."

"Watching TV or playing computer games for more than two hours a day is related to greater psychological difficulties irrespective of how active children are."

 

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