consequences for their behavior

728 hours. This is the average duration of screen exposure for children aged 3 to 10 years per year. This corresponds to an average of 2 hours per day. Screens are ubiquitous in our daily lives, but their impact on children’s physical and mental health is still debated. A recently published study measured the impact of screen exposure on children’s mental health. To do this, it analyzed the results of 87 studies conducted on more than 159,000 children. health online Decipher this phenomenon.

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Screens and children: physical and behavioral effects

A large amount of data from the literature demonstrates the adverse effects of screens on children’s physical health. In particular, there is a correlation between screen time and overweight orobesity. The sedentary lifestyle caused by heavy screen usage explains this phenomenon. In addition, screens have harmful effects when used for more than 2 hours a day or just before falling asleep sleep quality Children.

On the other hand, there is no consensus in the literature on the impact of screens on children’s behavior. That’s why researchers at the University of Calgary, Alberta wanted to answer the question: Is there a link between screen time and behavior problems in children? They introduced systematic review and meta-analysis including 87 studies and over 159,000 children aged 12 years and younger (mean age of children was 6 years). By “screens” scientists refer to exposure to television and video games. They wondered about the effects of this exposure on the internalized behavior problemslike anxiety or depression, and so on externalized behaviors such as aggression and attention deficit disorder with or without hyperactivity.

Knowledge ! A meta-analysis is a statistical study that summarizes the results of various independent studies addressing the same research problem. the systematic review is a work of collecting, critically evaluating and synthesizing existing knowledge on a given question. These two types of studies provide a significant level of evidence.

The analyzes performed by the researchers show that a Excessive screen time is associated with small but significant impacts on children’s mental health. Excessive exposure to screens is associated with externalized (aggression and inattention) and internalized (depression and anxiety) behavioral disorders. The authors also emphasize the lack of reproducibility of the studies conducted on this topic. This would explain the fact that they draw conflicting conclusions.

Preventing the effects of screens: what to do

Children’s exposure begins at an early age. As a matter of fact, a third of children aged 0 to 3 eat their meals in front of a screen. In addition, WHO recommendations for the healthy development of children are clear: The time spent in high quality sedentary activities without a screen based on interaction with a caregiver – for example reading, singing, storytelling or educational games – is crucial for the child’s development. ” In order to, what are the recommendations in this regard?

The High Council on Public Health recommends:

  • No screens before age 3;
  • No 3D screens 5 years ago;
  • Not having screens in the children’s room;
  • Do not watch TV 1 hour before going to sleep;
  • Limit the time you spend in front of screens in favor of different activities.

Additionally, in February 2022, MPs introduced legislation to the National Assembly to combat the harmful effects of excessive exposure of children to screens. He aims to run campaigns to raise public awareness of the risks of children’s health screens. If accepted, this proposal will result in the creation of a National Screen Excessive Plan for Children.

Alexia F., Doctor of Neuroscience

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– Eirich R, et al. Association of screen time with internalizing and externalizing behavior problems in children under 12 years of age: A systematic review and meta-analysis. jamanetwork.com. Consulted on March 23, 2022.
– BILL to prevent excessive screen exposure of children. assemblye-nationale.fr. Retrieved March 23, 2022.
– Effects of screen exposure on children and young people. hcsp.fr. Retrieved March 23, 2022.

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