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Children’s Screen Time Surges During Covid-19

New international poll reveals over 60 percent of children spend more than the WHO-recommended hours on screens under quarantine.

Looks like it only took a global pandemic for kids to finally win the battle for more screen time.

As schools continue to shut down and children’s leisure activities are limited, parents are increasingly relying on screens to facilitate kids’ education, entertainment and connectivity—a widespread pattern that has experts pondering long-term effects.

Recently, Tonies.com conducted a poll asking parents about the change in children’s digital habits and emotions. Last month, an anonymous five-question opinion poll was sent to respondents over age 18 in the European Union, United Kingdom and United States. Parents answered a series of questions on their child’s recent behavior pattern under quarantine pertaining to screen consumption, physical activity and emotional well-being. Respondents reacted on a five-point scale including “Completely Disagree,” “Somewhat Disagree,” “Neither Agree nor Disagree,” “Somewhat Agree” and “Completely Agree.”

Compared to the recommended two hours per day, the survey results indicated children under 18 spending an average of at least three hours on screens during quarantine. Responses also indicated 21 percent of parents allowing children to spend over six hours on screens, and 43 percent  reported a decrease in children’s off-screen activities during the Covid-19 outbreak. Sadly, more than 50 percent of respondents agreed their children experience signs of anxiety, sadness and worry as a result of self-isolation.

“The coronavirus outbreak has brought about an unprecedented phenomenon where physical play has gone almost completely digital—and it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon,” says Manon Sel, U.K. general manager at Tonies. “Nevertheless, passive screen time shouldn’t replace reading, playing or problem-solving. It is important for parents to nurture their children through more creative solutions.”

Below you will find the breakdown of responses from each survey inquiry:

The children living with me spend more time watching TV or other screens.

● 11 percent of parents completely disagree
● 22 percent of parents somewhat disagree
● 6 percent of parents neither agree nor disagree
● 50 percent of parents somewhat agree
● 11 percent of parents completely agree

The children living with me spend more time playing (not computer games).

● 17 percent of parents completely disagree
● 17 percent of parents somewhat disagree
● 28 percent of parents neither agree nor disagree
● 33 percent of parents somewhat agree
● 6 percent of parents completely agree

The children living with me have shown more signs of anxiety, worries and/or sadness.

● 6 percent of parents completely disagree
● 17 percent of parents somewhat disagree
● 39 percent of parents neither agree nor disagree
● 33 percent of parents somewhat agree
● 6 percent of parents completely agree

How many hours have children in the household spent watching any kind of screen (including TV, computer screens, mobile phones etc)?

● 3 percent of parents responded “0 hours per day”
● 37 percent of parents responded “0-3 hours per day”
● 39 percent of parents responded “3-6 hours per day”
● 21 percent of parents responded “More than 6 hours per day”

 

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