Hello!

If you’re parenting a teenager, you’d be well aware that screen time is a daily part of life, and getting them away from them isn’t as easy as we’d hope, but how much damage can too much screen time cause?

Somedays, as a parent of a 13-year-old, I can see the benefits of screen time, especially during COVID-19. My daughter can connect with her peers, and browse Pinterest for craft ideas to make at home, but I’m also concerned by what the downside of screen time is too.

A recent University of Queensland-led study has shown that teens need to switch up screen time for physical activity for the sake of their health and mental wellbeing. Associate Professor Asad Khan, UQ School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences researcher, said the global study investigated data from more than 577,000 adolescents aged 13 to 15 years across 42 high-income countries.

IS SCREEN TIME WORSE FOR GIRLS OR BOYS?

Results from the study have shown that screen time can be worse for female teens, over their male peers. “We found there were some benefits during the first hour of daily screen use, but detrimental effects of recreational screen use on mental wellbeing kick in after 75 minutes in girls and 105 minutes in boys,” Dr Khan said.

Researchers have linked harmful effects on adolescents’ mental health to screen time exceeding two hours a day for girls and four hours a day for boys.

Teen girls with phones_main image_750x516

WHAT SHOULD PARENTS BE LOOKING OUT FOR?

While we’re aware that screen time should be monitored, what signs should we be looking out for? “Excess screen time effects can include depression, obesity, poor quality of life, unhealthy diet and decreased physical and cognitive abilities,” Professor Khan shared.

By making that switch from screen time to physical activity, can definitely make a difference, “Whereas regular physical activity can improve physical fitness, cardiometabolic health, bone health, academic performance, executive function, mental health and can reduce weight gain.”

HOW MUCH SCREEN TIME IS ENOUGH?

Is there a screen time sweet spot? Different families will have different rules for devices. One mum from our community shared, “I take my teen’s phone from him as soon as he gets off the bus, and return it to him when he heads back to school.”

The research team suggest that we decrease screen time and send the kids out to burn off some energy instead, “One hour of physical activity and no more than two hours of screen time a day provided optimal mental wellbeing.”

Do you have screen time limits for your kids?

  • Lockdowns have made it almost impossible to limit screen time.

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  • My kids are 3 and 5 and they have limited screen time at the moment

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  • This is quite hard full time these days. Every parent with school kids have this issue. Kids need to do every thing on their learning on online. My kids already started eye glasses because of this home schooling. Their eye sight getting worse day by day.

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  • I never had that issue with my boys. They much preferred being out with their mates than watching television or being on phones. I do think it’s best to limit their use but not sure how long for

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  • Interesting that it’s found that screen time can be worse for female teens, over their male peers !


    • Putting teenagers on the reigns is very hard and can be cause of great resentment against you. Personally I’m not one who would take the devices away from my teenagers (age 16 and 17yr); however talking about responsible use YES

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  • This isn’t new information. I am 100% going to stick to government recommendations regarding screen time for my kids (video chatting and documentaries watched as a family the exception).

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  • Now our son is a young adult, he gets to make these decisions. Prior to that it drove me insane the amount of time he was on his phone. However, nowadays everything he needs to do is on his phone eg. work rosters, socials, bookings for his gigs. It’s the world he lives in and I worry about what that means for the future.

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  • I agree, the amount of time we spend in phones and tv is too much. Physical activity is so important.

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  • Physical activity and getting out in the fresh air is the key and screen time often puts a stop to this. Get out of the house as a family and walk the dog or even work out together!

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  • I don’t have any teenagers but something to be aware of

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  • Some parts are a bit far fetched

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  • I’ve two teens age 16 and 17 yrs old. I wouldn’t think about taking their phone off when they come home and return it when they head back to school !! That goes far to far to me.

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  • Easier said than done when lockdown is happening and can’t even go outside the home. Kids are going crazy

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  • With lockdown it’s just so hard to limit, and I’m referring to myself!

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  • I used to set limits when they were younger. Once they hit their teens, I loosened the reins a little. My son watched a lot my daughter not really much at all, they both turned out fine

    Reply

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