Are you a parent, looking at your kid glued to their iPad or Netflix, wishing they’d perhaps get out the house for a while, take a stroll, or at the least look up occasionally? A new study has some advice on how to cut down kids’ screen hour, and you may not like it: you need to cut down your own screen time first.
It’s widely acknowledged that a major contributor to increasing obesity, especially in young person, is a more sedentary lifestyle than previous generations- something that can be attributed to the rise in smartphones, tablets, and the occasionally overwhelming option of TV proves and streaming platforms, basically anything with a screen.
The World Health Organization( WHO) calculates around 41 million children globally under the age of 5 are considered obese or overweight, so it’s no wonder studies are looking into what is causing this and how to mitigate it, with plenty receiving you are able to lay the blame of increased sedentary behavior in young kids quite securely at the feet of screen time.
This study, from the University of Guelph, Canada, and published in the periodical BMC Obesity, seemed specifically at how parenting practise relating to media affects kids’ screentime habits, by is not merely looking at the kids’ habits but at the parents’ too and how the two correlate.
The researchers particularly wanted to look at smartphone and tablet hour as they say most previous studies have focused on Tv day. According to the study, between 2011 and 2013, mobile machine utilization in children aged 2 to 4 years old increased from 39 percentage to 80 percent, while TV viewing hour actually decreased.
Using data from the Guelph Family Health Study, they looked at 62 children between the ages of 18 months and 5 years and 64 mothers, asking questions such as how the parents control their kids’ screen period, when they allow them to engage in screen time, and whether they engage in their own screen time in front of their kids.
They found that during the week children spent on average 1 hour a day looking at screens, and at the weekend that went up to simply over two hours. The parents actually expended longer looking at their screens- 2 hours a day during the week and merely over 2.5 hours at the weekend.
They also found that the children’s screen viewing habits were formed by many factors traced back to their parents. These included screen time being awarded for good behavior, the more day the mother spent in front of a screen, and the more time their own children did. Children who were allowed to use their devices during mealtimes were also more likely to spend longer in general on them.
The researchers concluded that parents have a significant effect on the media utilize habits of their kids, and so any intervention to reduce the use of devices or quantity of screen period needs to start by first addressing the parents’ habits.