FACTS

    Since the start of COVID-19 quarantine, kids’ screen time is up a reported 500%. Between parents having to work from home, extracurricular activities being cancelled, and school looking either nonexistent or online-only during the last third of the school year, many children have gotten a “free pass on video games, social media, and television.” Adults’ screen time use has similarly shot up in recent months.

    OPINIONS

    According to the World Health Organization‘s (WHO) 2019 recommendations for children, children under 1 should have no screen time, and for ages 2-4, the maximum recommendation is 1 hour.

    James M. Lang, a professor at Assumption College in Massachusetts, wrote, “What I believe parents need to worry about isn’t how much time kids are spending cradling their devices during our current crisis. It’s whether their children are forming habits that will continue after the pandemic’s over.” He said that as long as children resume a lifestyle of “moderate screen time and active play” post-quarantine, a few months of excessive screen time won’t have negative long-term effects. The same is said to be true for adults:

    “Experts agreed that a few weeks probably won’t cause too much damage, but it’s unclear how long our quarantine might last — so it’s important to take stock of how it might be affecting you.”

    Travis M. Andrews, features writer for The Washington Post

    A 2018 study of children and adolescents found that too much screen time is strongly linked to anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues, as well as decreased ability to finish tasks or make friends. However, another study found that depression and anxiety may not be the result of too much screen time but rather the cause. Dr. Brian Primack, director of the Center for Research on Media, Technology, and Health at the University of Pittsburgh, stated that regardless of study, “I would say that we now have enough evidence of concern that we should be exerting more caution than we are.”

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