I’ve written previously on computer games, their impact on kids, and their potential drawbacks and benefits. This is a hotly debated topic in my household, with the kids coming down firmly on one side of the fence (computer time should not be limited!), me on the other (no computer time!), and my husband, ever moderate, somewhere in the middle.
Here’s the latest news to fuel the debate: scientists at the University of Bristol’s Centre for Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences published results of a study of more than 1000 children (ages 10 and 11) in the November edition of Pediatrics, where they report that children who spend more than two hours watching TV, in "recreational computer use," or some combination of the two score higher in measures of psychological difficulty.
They also looked at these children’s sedentary time and time spent in physical activity. If you think that upping exercise will counter too much time in front of the screen, think again: kids scored worse no matter how much time they spent exercising.
Lead author Dr. Angie Page notes in a EurekaAlert press release, "Whilst low levels of screen viewing may not be problematic, we cannot rely on physical activity to ‘compensate’ for long hours of screen viewing."
Hmm. This is the advantage of being a scientist and writer–when it comes to arguing science and health topics, I know stuff. Think my kids will be convinced?