The following is excerpted from an online article posted by ScienceDaily.
Regulations are urgently needed to protect children from harm in the unregulated online world, researchers at the University of Otago, New Zealand, say.
The call comes as the researchers publish the results of their study into the after-school habits of 12-year-olds. Their research, published in the New Zealand Medical Journal, finds children are spending a third of their after-school time on screens, including more than half their time after 8 pm.
Senior researcher Dr. Moira Smith from the University’s Department of Public Health says this is considerably more than the current guidelines, which recommend less than two hours of screen time per day (outside school time) for school-aged children and adolescents.
The results are from the innovative Kids’Cam project, with the 108 children involved wearing cameras that captured images every seven seconds, offering a unique insight into their everyday lives in 2014 and 2015.
Children were mostly playing games and watching programs. For ten percent of the time, the children were using more than one screen.
Screen use harms children’s health and well-being.
“It is associated with obesity, poor mental well-being, poor sleep and mental functioning, and lack of physical activity,” Dr Smith says. “It also affects children’s ability to concentrate and regulate their behavior and emotions.”