Multi-screen generation risking health, says study

August 3rd, 2011 - 11:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Facebook London, Aug 3 (IANS) Watching children juggling with various hi-tech gadgets at a time may delight many parents but it could be actually raising the risk of obesity and mental health problems among them.

Researchers say various 10 to 11-year-olds are often found watching TV while simultaneously using iPads, smartphones, laptops and hand-held gaming computers.

They warn such sedentary behaviour is believed to increase the risk of obesity and mental health problems in youngsters, Daily Mail reported.

In a study, 63 children aged 10 and 11 were questioned and it was found that they enjoyed looking at more than one screen at a time. They use a second device to fill in breaks during their entertainment, often talking or texting friends during advertisements or while they were waiting for computer games to load.

The television was also used to provide background entertainment while they were doing something else - especially if the programme chosen by their family was considered ‘boring’.

One of the respondents said: “I’m on my DSi (a handheld game system) and my laptop. On my DSi I’m on MSN and on my laptop I’m on Facebook and then the TV is on.”

Russ Jago of Bristol University said: “Health campaigns recommend reducing the amount of time children spend watching TV. However, the children in this study often had access to at least five different devices at any one time, and many of these devices were portable.

“This meant children were able to move the equipment between their bedrooms and family rooms, depending on whether they wanted privacy or company.

“This suggests that we need to work with families to develop strategies to limit the overall time spent multi-screen viewing wherever it occurs within the home.”

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