Study Reports Videogames and TV Make Kids Unbalanced

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Study Reports Videogames and TV Make Kids Unbalanced

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According to a new study, prolonged "screen time" could have negative psychological effects on children.

People that play videogames are always looking for science to back up the view that videogames aren't harmful to anyone, sometimes scoring successful victories, but sadly this isn't another one of those times. A study coming out of the UK is reporting that there's a strong possibility that videogame and television use by children can increase their chances of developing psychological issues.

Dr. Angie Page of the University of Bristol performed the study using 1,000 kids ages 10 and 11. The kids filled out a questionnaire that covered how much time they spent watching television or using a computer and their emotional or behavioral states. In addition, an accelerometer measured their daily physical activity.

Page's results showed that two hours a day of "screen time" increased the odds for "psychological difficulties" by 60 percent over kids with less time in front of the TV. Children that spent two hours each in front of the television and computer in a day had doubled chances to experience mental issues.

These results were universal across different sexes, ages, puberty stages, educational levels, and economic situations. It was also noted that a child spending time alone wasn't the issue, as reading or doing homework didn't indicate the same issues as screen time.

Physical activity was one method that Page recommended to include in a child's daily activities, as kids that were active had less of a negative effect from screen time. However, physical activity wasn't able to undo any previous damage, with Page also saying: "It wasn't clear whether having high physical activity levels would 'compensate' for high levels of screen viewing in children."

Page admitted that the biggest flaw in her study was the possibility of inaccurate reporting by children. Dr. Thomas N. Robinson of the Stanford University School of Medicine questioned the study, but said that he too had similar results showing reduced screen time leads to healthier, happier kids, and he recommends allowing around one hour of screen time per day.

There's a lot of crap for kids to look at on televisions and computers nowadays, but there are also plenty of positive activities available to them that happen through a screen. I'd be interested in a follow-up study that looked at different kinds of screen time, rather than just screen time in general, to see if it was the viewing portal responsible or just the content viewed.

Source: Reuters

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Im not inbalenced and if anyone say that i swear i will cut them >={

I'd like to see a study on the psychological effects of "screen time" on adults. If a few hours of TV or games per day is bad, 8 hours of staring at spreadsheets has to be lethal!

half asleep:
Im not inbalenced and if anyone say that i swear i will cut them >={

Your unbalanced ;D

And can they make up their minds? Last time i checked if i played games like call of duty, my Vision would be improved (or something along those lines)

And now if i play games i will get mental issues.

Eeesh!

Ambiguous much? Care to explain what "unbalanced" means exactly?

Well, duh. Why is this still even being questioned? Too much time doing one thing has negative effects on children. Balance their lives, parents. Get off your asses.

What kind of mental issues is she even talking about? All this says is "mental issues" and "psychological difficulties"... I call shenanigans.

As a researcher in human-computer interaction at my university, I can tell you that 75% of statistics from research are made up... and I just made that % up.

There's probably a lot of bias in this study, and, as mentioned, limitations. She's also not looking for positive effects - only negative ones. It's an unbalanced study with no real focus other than to say "kids should exercise"

I bet someone could do the same study, skewed in a different fashion, to look for positive effects and come up with something more convincing.

okay..

so what about their families (education, jobs, money)?
What about their neiborhood? (where they live)
DO the parents take care of their kids, or leave them to these devices?
What is the questionnaire, since it is mentionned that "the possibility of inaccurate reporting by children".. why didnt they ask the parents? Or just watch them for a while to take data?

I would give it more credibility if the results hadn't been universal, it smells of a rigged study to me.

One measly hour?

Seriously? No. That's not a reasonable amount of time for anything. Thats like, what, one episode of inbetweeners on a monday?

Or better yet, the time I spend trying to pick a channel.

Edit:

There's a point, I spent way more than 1 hour of screen time in college because i'm on an IT course. Am I getting unbalanced because of this, or does it not count because its not "entertainment"? :P

What does unbalanced mean here? What kind of psychological issues do kids have?
Unless they define that, I'm not really sure what to make of this data.

id like them to make a study about how much time and money these scholars wasted on studying irrelevant ideas day in and day out,ffs with all that money we could have i dont know ..fed the poor... built some places to live ..made public places nicer or maybe clean that nasty leak in the oil pipe....

I wonder if perhaps kids with "psychological difficulties" (whatever that actually means) are simply more likely to watch lots of television. Correlation =/= causation.

Great, another "study". Haven't they got over these already?

Can't say I've held much faith in these to be honest.

I cant wait for another study in a few weeks to disprove this. Its an endless cycle, proving, disproving, and then proving again. When will the madness end?!

What if I mainly just use the computer?
I never enjoyed television that much, and if there was something I wanted to watch, I'd just download it.
So... how do I fit into this equation?

Unbalanced. Right. Now define that word and I just might think this study wasn't a huge waste of time and money... maybe.

Midnight0000:
What kind of mental issues is she even talking about? All this says is "mental issues" and "psychological difficulties"... I call shenanigans.

As a researcher in human-computer interaction at my university, I can tell you that 75% of statistics from research are made up... and I just made that % up.

There's probably a lot of bias in this study, and, as mentioned, limitations. She's also not looking for positive effects - only negative ones. It's an unbalanced study with no real focus other than to say "kids should exercise"

I bet someone could do the same study, skewed in a different fashion, to look for positive effects and come up with something more convincing.

Just a quick interjection: if you lead a research project, you are actually trying to find data that backs up your original hypothesis. If her original thesis was that kids who spend more time with media than "normal" children develop problems, mental or physical, than that is what she will publish. That's just how research works...

Anyway, I'm not really surprised. If you spend time in front of a monitor/TV, you aren't socializing, unless you count being 12 and yelling at people over xbox live having a social life. That this will cause some psychological problems is pretty obvious. But a counter question from a socially inept 20-something college senior: just how bad is being "unbalanced," and for that matter, what does being unbalanced entail? Is it not wanting to look the guy from who you have just ordered a double cheeseburger in the eye, or is it stabbing anybody around you bad? Self-esteem problems, cutting, drug abuse, what?

Nonsense. I don't have any trouble standing up straight.

Seriously, though, I doubt the veracity of this study. Aside from the fact that it never specifies what problems children exposed to videogames and TV experience, there are all sorts of factors that come into play, here. For one, correlation and causation.

This never addresses the possibility that children who are already more predisposed to 'mental issues' (whatever those are) might subsequently spend more time on TV and videogames as a result. I know that I myself at an early age didn't find physical activity or interacting with other children my own age especially stimulating, so one of the things I turned to was educational TV programs and videogames. So, in other words, it occurred in the opposite order to what this study is implying.

There's also the issue of children reporting on themselves. Maybe children who spend time alone watching TV and playing videogames are generally more introspective than extroverts who prefer running around and being physically active, and therefore are more likely to report the possibility of having 'mental issues'.

Or there's just the fact that children in this age bracket are unreliable. God knows I lied to doctors at that age. I faked an eye exam to get a pair of glasses so I'd feel special.

In conclusion, I leave you with one of my favourite quotes; "Recent studies have conclusively shown that studies show nothing."

The vast majority of Dr. Page's research seems to be centred around physical activity and obesity in children to begin with. That she's recommending more physical exercise hardly seems out of the ordinary. I'd like to read the study myself, but I am decidedly unintersted in paying the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics just to have a look at it. My university library might have it on the shelves if I'm lucky, will check tomorrow.

I'm not crazy, I'm not crazy! *Shoots self after playing too much Persona 3*

I'm completely unbalanced after spending several hours in front of a TV and computer screen, and suffer mental issues.

One is the capability to project whatever I have watched on TV onto others. If I saw a fire, I can light you on fire. If I saw Criss Angel, I can put you in "Criss Angel's a Douchebag" from Supernatural, as one of the dead victims...

Also, I have to stand on one foot now, because one is completely different from the other, last time I watch Godzilla and try to project it upon myself...

shadow741:
I'm not crazy, I'm not crazy! *Shoots self after playing too much Persona 3*

You got a lousy Persona... its just chunks of pink and blood... I bet it can't even use splash!

Her studies say it can cause a 60% increase in psychological issues, but then it says both tv and computer will double that? That's a 120% chance likely to cause a mental problem... explain or you're a failure as a scientist and thus dubbed a pedophile for wanting to spend so much time with little children.

I rarely go to these comments straight away, but;

Bad Study is Bad.

That is all. If you can't see the glaring holes in that research right away, you're the one who has mental health issues, not those kids.

The study seems to have been poorly done. I'd like to see more on the questionaire. Also, did they define what psychologial difficulties plagued the children? Also, wouldn't they have to quiz a group of children who are mentally healthy, then subject them to different amounts of "screen time" for several years to actually determine the type of connection? According to my psych professor, that's the reason psychology has only two laws and a metric crapton of theories: actually testing them is evil.

"In other studies, Fun itself is found to directly cause cancer"

thethingthatlurks:

Midnight0000:
What kind of mental issues is she even talking about? All this says is "mental issues" and "psychological difficulties"... I call shenanigans.

As a researcher in human-computer interaction at my university, I can tell you that 75% of statistics from research are made up... and I just made that % up.

There's probably a lot of bias in this study, and, as mentioned, limitations. She's also not looking for positive effects - only negative ones. It's an unbalanced study with no real focus other than to say "kids should exercise"

I bet someone could do the same study, skewed in a different fashion, to look for positive effects and come up with something more convincing.

Just a quick interjection: if you lead a research project, you are actually trying to find data that backs up your original hypothesis. If her original thesis was that kids who spend more time with media than "normal" children develop problems, mental or physical, than that is what she will publish. That's just how research works...

Anyway, I'm not really surprised. If you spend time in front of a monitor/TV, you aren't socializing, unless you count being 12 and yelling at people over xbox live having a social life. That this will cause some psychological problems is pretty obvious. But a counter question from a socially inept 20-something college senior: just how bad is being "unbalanced," and for that matter, what does being unbalanced entail? Is it not wanting to look the guy from who you have just ordered a double cheeseburger in the eye, or is it stabbing anybody around you bad? Self-esteem problems, cutting, drug abuse, what?

Not all research needs a hypothesis. It depends on whether it's qualitative or quantitative. From the looks of things, this could be either, as the article doesn't really go to in depth with figures, but still...
You can have research to find *something*, but not anything in particular, and make of the outcomes whatever you want. It happens all the time. For example, my research was completely qualitative, regarding how vibration effects user immersion in gaming. I could skew my data any way I wanted to as long as I wanted to publish a paper on it. I had no hypothesis before conducting said research.

jackknife402:
Her studies say it can cause a 60% increase in psychological issues, but then it says both tv and computer will double that? That's a 120% chance likely to cause a mental problem... explain or you're a failure as a scientist and thus dubbed a pedophile for wanting to spend so much time with little children.

in her defense, that's not really how percentages like that are "doubled" in a study like this.. I think the idea is that both tv and computer have a 60% chance to cause an effect, and using both of them would give you 2 60% chances which are statistically unrelated to eachother.. like rolling 2 dice, and needing to get under 4 on each.. the first roll has nothing to do with the second.

I have no real opinion on the data she collected/released, but I think as I always do in these "Vidya Games are the Devil!" phenomenons - parents need to take control of the situation.. If it's important to them, then they need to become informed, if it's not, and they trust their kids at whatever age to make the right choices, it's not our place to step in and be parents for them, as long as they're not actively dangering the kid.. That's the crux of it I guess, I don't believe that video games are inherently dangerous.

This study... is useless. That is my verdict, and I'll stick with it. There is a large amount of room for error, and there is no way I would ever use this to prove anything were it my research.

Something that's also noteworthy is the social environments the children who had more screen time were in when they weren't looking at some sort of media.

In an unrelated study Dr. Angie Page of the University of Bristol was found to enjoy making vague and ominous sounding statements in her work to further her own agenda. She also may be fucking stupid.

PFFSHT.

Correlation does not imply causation. Consider this: what if kids with higher 'social difficulties' spend more time in front of screens because of their social difficulties, not the other way around? What if the problem isn't the screentime, but outside stress and body chemistry that causes them to become more introverted? As a lifelong introvert, let me tell you, I was a book-type nerd until I finally managed to scrounge enough for a Playstation(well into my teens) and the introversion and social difficulties definitely didn't start then.

Question: does reading a book for hours on end have the same effect? or are we just going to turn a blind eye to other types of media.

Very, very vague article. Definitions please! =]

And if it counts for anything, once upon a time my mother tried to get me comitted to the local psych ward. One psych eval later,I was proclaimed extrordinarily well-balanced and as having 'a good head on my shoulders'.

This was at a time in my life when I was getting school overwith at school, coming home and playing video games on my 12' Sony Tube TV for at least twelve hours, then sleeping just a tad.

Yes, I admit that the sleep thing was a bad balance. Nowadays I'm in university, spending three hours on public transit to and from classes (falling over a lot -- is this the unbalance we speek of?), and when I finally do get home, I study until the wee hours of the morning, and sleep a couple hours before getting up and doing it all again.

The unfortunate thing with these studies is that psych studies are usually bunk in how they assign 'quantifiable' values to qualitative results. It's like putting these kids on a gradient, from 1 being 'well balanced', 3 being 'took a sh!t', and 5 being 'no priorities'.
So is an average of arbitrarily assigned values truly indicative of a real and likely outcome? Will the average child really take a sh!t? Or do extremes cancel out and leave behind false conclusions?

Rant over. Feel free to tell me what you think. And just so you know, I realise my example is very off-kilter, but I mostly wanted to present the notion of innacuracy.

This seems problematic to say the least.

The way this study was conducted doesn't sound like it takes anything into account that's actually useful in knowing the causality here.

For one, the most fundamental (assuming the relationship mentioned is even true at all), does 'screen time' cause the supposed problems, or is it a symptom of the problems?

That is, if kids have social problems, are they more likely to withdraw from other people and spend their time playing computer games/ watching TV instead?
Or is it watching TV and playing computer games that leads to the other?

Isn't this like saying 'children with runny noses, sore throats, sneezing a lot are more likely to have colds'?

What if they already have these vaguely defined 'psychological issues' and 'screen time' is how they deal with it. Then you're going at the whole problem backwards, and potentially eliminating a valuable coping mechanism, which could just cause major unhappiness down the road!

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