School & District Management

Study: Exercise Won’t Counter Too Much Screen Time

By Ian Quillen — October 27, 2010 1 min read

A somewhat surprising study in the November issue of the journal Pediatrics indicates children can not counteract the negative psychological effects of spending too much time at the television or computer by being extra active away from the screen.

The study, published by the University of Bristol in the U.K., and written about in Live Science, found that 10- and 11-year-olds of all genders, physical maturity levels, and social classes were more likely to encounter emotional and behavioral issues when spending more than two hours a day with the TV or the PC. And it didn’t matter how much French Cricket, Rounders, or Marbles the children played between watching reruns of Da Ali G Show or playing PL Manager. Researchers had hypothesized that more active children would be able to somewhat counteract those effects.

Now I know what you’re thinking:
1) This is kinda bad news for education technology advocates.
2) This is really bad news for the makers of Wii Fit.

But I’m curious about a couple things. First off, couldn’t an excess of time spent at a television or computer screen indicate other factors working against the child—such as less parental supervision, or a lack of social connections to pull children away from their screens?

And more to the ed-tech point, how would the results change if the researchers weren’t observing consumption of media that was sedentary by nature, or even if it were more structured, such as in an online lesson? And would they be different if, for example, they were judging consumption of media on a mobile device that allowed more live person-to-person interaction during use?

Kind of sounds like a story idea ...

Related Tags:

A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.