In a recent study reported in Medscape from the British Journal of Sports Medicine, researchers conducted a meta-analysis of previous studies regarding screen time and depression.
Results indicated that when adolescents and preadolescents were exposed to more than 2 hours per day of screen time, their depression rates increased. Longer screen time per day was associated with an increased risk of depression: 2.5 hours/day had an 8% increase, 3 hours/day with a 19% increase, 4 hours/day with a 46% increase and 5 hours or more per day had an 80% increase.
Interestingly, in contrast, when screen time was limited to only one hour a day, there was an associated reduced risk of depression.
As children’s use of technology grows, so too do the studies helping to determine the benefits and costs of such technology.
Learning to recognize the value of what technology offers (e.g., educational programs, fine motor skills, visual-motor skills, convenience and access to information) and weigh that against what children today are not getting (e.g., social interaction, social skill development, physical exercise, gross motor skills and more) becomes a challenge for individual parents and societies as a whole.
Reference: Mingli Liu; Lang Wu; Shuqiao Yao, Dose-Response Association of Screen Time-Based Sedentary Behavior in Children and Adolescents and Depression. A Meta-analysis of Observational Studies. Br J Sports Med. 2016;50(20):1252-1258.