Screen-time for kids: Science says… well… maybe not all that bad?

The Guardian explores what the research doesn’t say about letting kids zonk out on their video games and iPads and computer screens and whatnot:

Andy Przybylski, associate professor and director of research at the Oxford Internet Institute at the University of Oxford said studies exploring links between screen time and health sometimes find weak, negative links to aspects of wellbeing such as self-esteem and depression but that the majority were based on surveys and only looked at one snapshot in time.

““The thing that is very very important to understand about this is that these correlations are extremely small,” he said. “And 99% of a child’s wellbeing has nothing measurable to do with screens, no matter how you measure them.”

Przybylski added that while there have been studies that follow children over time, these have generally found that such correlations go away because more of the background of the child is taken into account.

“New good studies, that add to what we understand about the effects of screen time over time on young people – they are really far and few between,” he said.

Dr Pete Etchells, reader in psychology and science communication, Bath Spa University added that the inclusion, for the first time, of “gaming disorder” in the World Health Organisation’s international classification of diseases this week was not backed by evidence.

“It is not necessarily wrong, it is premature,” he said.

“The best evidence we currently have suggests that some screen time, some video game playing per day, is better than none at all, particularly for childhood wellbeing – to my mind that is not the message that has been sent out this week with the new classification,” Etchells said….