Biotechnology

New Zealand children spend a third of the time after school in front of screens

[ad_1]

Regulation is urgently needed to protect children from harm in an unregulated online world, say researchers at the University of Otago, New Zealand.

Regulation is urgently needed to protect children from harm in an unregulated online world, say researchers at the University of Otago, New Zealand.

The call came as researchers published the results of their study of 12-year-olds’ after-school habits. Their research, published today in New Zealand Medical Journalfound that children spend a third of their time after school in front of screens, including more than half of their time after 8 p.m.

Senior researcher Dr Moira Smith of the University’s Department of Public Health said this was far more than current guidelines, which recommend less than two hours of screen time per day (outside of school time) for school-age children and youth.

The result comes from the groundbreaking Kids’Cam project, which involved 108 children wearing a camera that captures an image every seven seconds, offering unique insights into their daily lives in 2014 and 2015.

Children mostly play games and watch programs. Ten percent of the time, children use more than one screen.

Screen use endangers the health and well-being of children.

“It’s associated with obesity, poor mental well-being, poor sleep and mental function, and physical inactivity,” said Dr Smith. “It also affects a child’s ability to concentrate and regulate their behavior and emotions.”

Screen use is now a routine part of children’s daily lives and has likely increased since Kids’Cam data was collected.

“Screen use has increased rapidly during the COVID-19 pandemic, and children in 2023 spend a lot of time online, especially on smartphones. According to a recent media usage survey, YouTube And Netflix is the most popular site for watching programs, with one in three children under 14 using social media, the most tick tockrated R13.”

He said children were exposed to vaping, alcohol, gambling and junk food advertisements, and experienced sexism, racism and bullying online.

“Cyberbullying is especially high among children in Aotearoa, with one in four parents reporting their child being bullied online.”

Dr Smith said New Zealand’s current laws were outdated and failed to adequately address the online world children were exposed to.

“While the use of screens has many benefits, children need to be protected from harm in these largely unregulated spaces.”

He said the Government deserves a thumbs up for proposing more regulation of social media in its latest consultation document from the Ministry of Home Affairs (DIA), which noted concerns about children accessing inappropriate content online.

Otago researchers are currently studying the online world of children in Aotearoa using screen capture technology, with results expected to be published soon.


[ad_2]

Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button