“Effects of screentime on the health and well-being of children and adolescents: a systematic review of reviews” is the name of a newly published research paper by UCL researchers Dr. Russell M Viner and Neza Stiglic that looks at the evidence of harms and benefits relating to time spent on screens for children and young people.
This is what they found out:
While the research did find evidence for an association between screentime and obesity, higher energy intake, less healthy diets, and a poorer quality of life in general, it is critical to be aware that the observed link is merely a correlation.
This simply means that, if we were to look at a large enough sample of randomly chosen children and young adults, it will be likely that those who suffer any of the listed ailments are likely to be the ones that spend more screentime compared to the rest of the sample.
It does not mean, however, that screentime is what causes these ailments. Quite simply, it would be equally valid to make the claim that the ailments are what explains the above average screentime habits of these individuals.
At the same time, The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), the professional body for paediatricians in the United Kingdom that oversees the training of specialists in child medicine, has produced the guidance for under-18s.
In the guidance, the RCPCH clearly states that there is no good evidence to suggest that screentime is in any way toxic to children at any age and refused to issue any screentime limits. Instead, it merely advised the use of screen devices before bedtime.