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06th Feb 2021

Young children who watch screens several times a day are more prone to aggressive behaviour

Trine Jensen-Burke

Young children and screen time and effect on behaviour

This is worrying.

There is no denying that bigger and bigger chunks of our children’s days are spent on a screen.

And while tablets and phones and TV screens can provide both entertainment and education and so much-needed chill-out time for us parents, the reality is that we know little about the effects of all this tech yet. Certainly about how it possible can affect our children in the longer term.

According to CNN, when it comes to looking for predictors of which children are more at risk of using tech and online tools more, researchers found some patterns when looking at groups of kindergarten (creche) children.

What the researchers found was that kindergarten children who were more prone to aggressive behaviour, or who “acted out” more when they were little, were more likely to use technology multiple times a day by the time they were done grade 5. In fact, the only other group that was just as likely was children from low-income families.

In contrast, children in kindergarten who had limits on their screen time, and whose parents introduced off-screen learning activities, had less online time by the time they were done primary school.

And before you dismiss this is sure, all kids are spending time on screens these days, know that experts do think there is reason for concern about these findings.

The concern is that when children use online technology, they are missing out on other activities that offer more benefits. They may be losing sleep, missing time with their families and they won’t be engaging in traditional, independent reading. These are just a few things that have the experts concerned.

Even more worryingly, children who use screens and technology are also at risk of obesity and suffering with mental health issues, according to JAMA Network. The concern seems to be that children need a more well-rounded development, and the study is showing that most of their development may be happening with the aid of a screen.