Breaking News
February 18, 2019 - Combination of PARP inhibitor and immunotherapy results in tumor regression in SCLC mouse models
February 18, 2019 - Heavy smoking could lead to vision loss, study finds
February 18, 2019 - New diagnostic test for malaria uses spit, not blood
February 18, 2019 - New therapeutic molecules show promise in reversing memory loss related to depression, aging
February 18, 2019 - Darla Shine joins anti-vaccination campaigners
February 18, 2019 - New study outlines sex-specific issues in ischemic heart disease
February 18, 2019 - Drug combinations could become first-line treatment for metastatic kidney cancer
February 18, 2019 - Lifetime adversity, increased neural processing during trauma combine to intensify core PTSD symptoms
February 18, 2019 - HRQoL Scores Decrease With Treatment Line in Multiple Myeloma
February 18, 2019 - Convincing evidence that type 2 diabetes is a cause of erectile dysfunction
February 18, 2019 - Art Institute of Chicago announces results of research on five terracotta sculptures
February 18, 2019 - New PET/CT tracer shows high detection rate for diagnosis of acute venous thromboembolism
February 18, 2019 - Smoking may blight immune response against melanoma and reduce survival
February 18, 2019 - How Inactivity and Junk Food Can Harm Your Brain
February 18, 2019 - Diabetes tops common conditions for frequent geriatric emergency patients
February 18, 2019 - Longer-lived sperm produces offspring with healthier lifespans
February 18, 2019 - New dental adhesive prevents tooth decay around orthodontic brackets
February 18, 2019 - New eHealth tool shows potential to improve quality of asthma care
February 18, 2019 - New Australian initiative helps emergency clinicians to improve patient care
February 17, 2019 - Apellis Pharmaceuticals’ APL-2 Receives Fast Track Designation from the FDA for the Treatment of Patients with Paroxysmal Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria
February 17, 2019 - Researchers identify faulty ‘brake’ that interferes with heart muscle’s ability to contract and relax
February 17, 2019 - Support from trusted adults can reduce risk of dying in suicidal teens, finds study
February 17, 2019 - Heart attack awareness improved since 2008
February 17, 2019 - Exercise gives a better brain boost to older men than women
February 17, 2019 - New research disproves previous assumptions of how looks influence personality
February 17, 2019 - Cannabis use as a teenager linked to depression later in life
February 17, 2019 - Sinks by Toilets in ICU Patient Rooms Harbor Harmful Bacteria
February 17, 2019 - Cancer cells’ plasticity makes them harder to stop
February 17, 2019 - Young cannabis users have increased risk of depression and suicidal behavior
February 17, 2019 - Tasmanian Devils Likely to Survive Cancer Scourge
February 17, 2019 - Neoadjuvant PD-1 blockade seems effective in glioblastoma
February 17, 2019 - Personal, social factors play role in enabling sustainable return to work after ill health
February 17, 2019 - Mouse studies show ‘inhibition’ theory of autism wrong
February 17, 2019 - Study shows how neuroactive steroids inhibit activity of pro-inflammatory proteins
February 17, 2019 - Use of liver grafts from older donors decreased despite better outcomes in recipients
February 17, 2019 - MUSC researchers discover new mechanism for a class of anti-cancer drugs
February 17, 2019 - HPV misconceptions are causing women to miss smear tests
February 17, 2019 - Sanofi and Regeneron Offer Praluent (alirocumab) at a New Reduced U.S. List Price
February 17, 2019 - Researchers say auditory testing can identify children for autism screening
February 17, 2019 - New method analyzes how single biological cells react to stressful situations
February 17, 2019 - WVU gynecologic oncologist investigates novel treatment for cervical and vaginal cancers
February 17, 2019 - ADHD diagnoses poorly documented
February 17, 2019 - Majority of gender minority youth do not identify with traditional sexual identity labels
February 17, 2019 - AbbVie, Teneobio enter into strategic transaction to develop potential treatment for multiple myeloma
February 17, 2019 - Lower Birth Weight May Up Risk for Psychiatric Disorders
February 17, 2019 - Scientists identify reversible molecular defect underlying rheumatoid arthritis
February 17, 2019 - Moffitt researchers shed light on how CAR T cells function mechanistically
February 16, 2019 - Female Anatomy May Play Big Role in Sperm’s Success
February 16, 2019 - BMI may mediate inverse link between fiber intake, knee OA
February 16, 2019 - Movement impairments in autism can be reversed through behavioral training
February 16, 2019 - Studies address racial disparities in postpartum period and cardiovascular health
February 16, 2019 - Scientists implicate hidden genes in the severity of autism symptoms
February 16, 2019 - Decreased deep sleep linked to early signs of Alzheimer’s disease
February 16, 2019 - Neuroscientists show how the brain responds to texture
February 16, 2019 - Gilead Announces Topline Data From Phase 3 STELLAR-4 Study of Selonsertib in Compensated Cirrhosis (F4) Due to Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH)
February 16, 2019 - What Can I Do About Sweating? (for Teens)
February 16, 2019 - Companies navigate dementia conversations with older workers
February 16, 2019 - Newly developed stem cell technologies show promise for treating PD patients
February 16, 2019 - Collaborative material research could advance self-assembling nanomaterials
February 16, 2019 - Researchers take major step in creating technology that mimics the human brain
February 16, 2019 - Erasing memories associated with cocaine use reduces drug seeking behavior
February 16, 2019 - Artificial intelligence can accurately predict prognosis of ovarian cancer patients
February 16, 2019 - Racial disparities in cancer deaths on the decline for America
February 16, 2019 - FDA authorizes new interoperable insulin pump for children, adults with diabetes
February 16, 2019 - Coexisting Medical Conditions, Smoking Explain PTSD-CVD Link
February 16, 2019 - Skin Cancer Screening: MedlinePlus Lab Test Information
February 16, 2019 - ‘Happiness’ exercises can boost mood in those recovering from substance use disorder
February 16, 2019 - Cell manipulation could soon halt or reverse aging
February 16, 2019 - Pumped Breast Milk Falls Short of Breastfed Version
February 16, 2019 - Men’s porn habits could fuel partners’ eating disorders, study suggests
February 16, 2019 - Rapid progression of age-related diseases may result from formation of vicious cycles
February 16, 2019 - Immune checkpoint molecule protects against future development of cancer
February 16, 2019 - New method produces hydrogels that have properties similar to cells’ environment
February 16, 2019 - $4.1 million funding for heart research on Valentine’s Day
February 16, 2019 - General anesthesia in early infancy unlikely to have lasting effects on developing brains
February 16, 2019 - New breakthroughs for muscular dystrophy research
February 16, 2019 - First Opinion: Embryo editing for higher IQ is a fantasy. Embryo profiling for it is almost here
February 16, 2019 - Vapers develop cancer-related gene deregulation as cigarette smokers
February 16, 2019 - Bringing Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing (AST) to the Community
February 16, 2019 - Decolonization protocol after hospital discharge can prevent dangerous infections
Technology not taking over children’s lives despite screen-time increase

Technology not taking over children’s lives despite screen-time increase

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

With children spending increasing amounts of time on screen-based devices, there is a common perception that technology is taking over their lives, to the detriment and exclusion of other activities. However, new Oxford University research has revealed that as digital past-times have become intertwined with daily life, children have adapted their behaviours to include their devices.

Much like adults, they are able to multi-task and also do all the things that they would do anyway.

The study also reveals key gender differences in how children use technology. Although boys and girls spend similar amounts of time using devices, boys spend significantly more time playing videogames compared to girls’, spending 50 mins per day, compared girls’ 9. The bulk of girls time is spent engaging in other activities such as study and socialising.

Conducted by Killian Mullan, a Senior Research Associate, at Oxford’s Centre for Time Use Research in the Department of Sociology, the study combines data from two national UK Time Use Surveys 2000-01 and 2014-15, to study changes in screen-based activities and to build a detailed picture of the time children spend using technology.

The work represents a first of its kind assessment of how the time children aged 8-18 spend daily on screen-based activities (TV, videogames and computers) has changed since 2000, together with an analysis of how children are incorporating the use of devices such as smartphones and tablets into their daily activities.

Previous studies have focused on how much time children spend doing certain screen-based activities per day, but have not included any context of other activities (such as homework, dinner etc.), making it difficult to fully appreciate how children incorporate the use of technology into their daily lives. Published in Child Indicators Research, the research uses high-quality time-diary data. Children fill out a diary, recording the sequence of activities they engage in throughout the day, and include when they are using a digital device (smartphone, tablet, computer) throughout the day.

The study reveals that children spent 10 minutes less time watching TV between 2000 and 2015. However their time playing videogames and using computers, (when this was the primary focus of their activity), increased by 40 minutes, giving an overall increase of 30 minutes in the time children spent on traditional screen-based activities.

The work considers the increased availability of portable devices (smart phones and tablets) and reinforces reports from other data sources, such as Ofcom, that in 2015 children spent on average 2hr 46 mins using a device (approximately 20 hours per week).

Killian said: ‘While this is undeniably a considerable amount of time, taken with context it suggests less cause for alarm. In fact, the study reveals that rather than allowing their devices to take over their lives, as some research suggests, children are combining the use of new technology with other activities. ‘Around half of this time is when a screen-based activity is the child’s primary focus (1 hr 30 min). While they report using computers as their main activity for 30 minutes, there is also an activity overlap of approximately an hour, where devices were used while watching TV or playing videogames. The increasing use of devices while watching TV coincides with a decrease in the pastime as a primary activity, suggesting that children may be watching TV on their phones and tablets instead of traditional platforms.’

For the remaining time that children are using devices, (a total of 1hr 16 min), they report engaging in a wide range of different activities including when at school (14 mins), socialising (13 min), travelling (12 mins), studying (9 min), eating (6 min), and playing sports (3 min). This raises important questions about the extent to which mobile devices are altering the nature of children’s experiences. However, the overall amount of time spent on these activities did not change noticeably between 2000 and 2015, indicating that the amount of time that children use technology may be increasing, but is not reducing time spent on other activities.

Killian explains: ‘Our findings show that technology is being used with and in some cases perhaps to support other activities, like homework for instance, and not pushing them out. Just like we adults do, children spread their digital tech use throughout the day, while doing other things.’

When time spent using devices is added to the measure of total screen-based activities (TV, videogames, computer), the increase in screen time between 2000 and 2015 jumps substantially from 30 minutes to 1 hr 46 min. However, the study highlights how children’s increasing use of technology is spread throughout the day while they are engaging in many other activities.

Whether this ability to multi-task is effective, proving a distraction, or even affecting their mental health, is not clear and needs further investigation. However, what is clear is that technology is not consuming children’s time and attention, as is commonly perceived.

Killian added: ‘People think that children are addicted to technology and in front of these screens 24/7, to the exclusion of other activities – and we now know that is not the case. The bigger point is that, as for adults, children are incorporating technology into daily life. They are taking the tech with them and they are doing all the things that they would do anyway – but now with devices. On paper, the total time children spend using digital devices sounds huge. But, when you break it down the picture that emerges shows how children have embedded tech in their daily activities – just like we have.’

Of the importance of the behavioural gender differences observed, Killian said: ‘Gender differences in the way in which children use technology are well known, but the substantial widening of the gender difference in time playing videogames is surprising. Much is written about the negative effects of videogames, but there are possible benefits as well. Boys, to a greater extent than girls, may be exposed to digital cultures surrounding video gaming that improve programming skills and jobs in technology, that may well shape expectations and help form critical pathways into careers in technology. Girls are not technophobes. They use technology as much as boys, but do so in markedly different ways. More research is needed to understand how to leverage all the different ways boys and girls use technology in their daily lives to help promote more gender balance in careers in technology’.

To expand the picture of children’s technology use further, Killian is also studying how use of screen-based technology relates to ‘family time’ and activities with their parents – results are expected in late 2018.


Explore further:
Study: Lower-income kids give more time to TV, digital media

More information:
Killian Mullan. Technology and Children’s Screen-Based Activities in the UK: The Story of the Millennium So Far, Child Indicators Research (2017). DOI: 10.1007/s12187-017-9509-0

Provided by:
University of Oxford

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles