Screen Time

Screen Time
(Shutterstock) Studies show negative effects prolonged screen time has on young people.

Kevin Barnett/Reporter

OKMULGEE, Oklahoma — With the prevalence of laptops, smartphones and tablets being used by children, you have to wonder: ‘How much screen time is too much?’

The past few years has seen a rise in the number of studies being conducted regarding the effects of time spent consuming digital media and the findings are alarming.

One such study, conducted by researchers at the University of Montreal in Canada, tracked nearly 2,000 children from their infancy into their teen years and reported a higher risk of emotional, psychological and physical health problems among those who spent significant amounts of time in front of screens in their early years.

Some of the associated risks include: depression by age 12 or 13, aggression, low interpersonal skills and unhealthy eating habits, to name a few.

As alarming as the findings may be, the study does offer the proviso that it was conducted prior to 2007 and only took into account television screens and not portable devices.

A more recent study was published in the Journal of Preventive Medicine Reports and found that young people who spend seven plus hours a day on a screen (televisions and portable devices) are twice as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety or depression than their peers who stay close to the recommended one hour per day.

Screen time in excess of seven hours a day may seem unbelievable, but with some estimates showing that U.S. adults are spending over 10 hours a day in front of a screen it may not be that improbable.

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