Covid 19 pandemic has been devastating, especially to the younger generation who have turned to mobiles and other devises. A new study by the University of Queensland showed teens need to regularly switch screen time for physical activity for the sake of their health and mental well being.
The Researchers of the UQ School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences found out harmful effects on adolescents mental health to screen time exceeding two hours a day for girls and four hours a day for boys. They concluded the study after analysing data from more than 5,77,000 adolescents aged 13 to 15 years across 42 high-income countries.
Lead author Associate Professor Asad Khan said that they found some benefits during the first hour of daily screen use, but detrimental effects of recreational screen use on mental well being kick in after 75 minutes in girls and 105 minutes in boys. “Excess screen time effects can include depression, obesity, poor quality of life, unhealthy diet and decreased physical and cognitive abilities. Whereas regular physical activity can improve physical fitness, cardio metabolic health, bone health, academic performance, executive function, mental health and can reduce weight gain Combining increased physical activity with reduced screen time showed a gradual beneficial effect on mental well being across genders,” the author said.
Khan mentioned that one hour of physical activity and no more than two hours of screen time a day provided optimal mental well being, Screen time limits and guidelines refer to screen time for entertainment purposes and does not incorporate screen time in schools for education purposes. He noted that screen use in teens increased significantly over recent years and insufficient physical activity is highly prevalent among teens.
The researchers maintained that the study opened the doors for a global debate on “how much is too much for teen screen use and builds pressure to reduce recreational screen time and increase the movement for the health and well being of the younger generation.