Gaming Consoles

Kids' screen time rises at the fastest rate in four years

Isolation from peers and other reasons contributed to a large rise in screen use among tweens and teens during the pandemic, compared to pre-pandemic levels.

In March, Common Sense Media, a nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of all children and families, presented a detailed research demonstrating that screen use in 2021 will climb at a far higher rate than in the preceding four years. In the last two years, tweens' usage has increased sixfold.

The epidemic was most certainly a major factor in the shift in screen usage. According to the study, platforms like TikTok have grown in popularity and may be driving higher use.

As society began to open up again in the fall of 2021, researchers wanted to see if there were any long-term variations in young people's use of screen media.

They looked at how much time tweens (ages 8 to 12) and adolescents (ages 13 to 18) spent on digital devices aside from taking online coursework and assignments in the United States.

Time spent viewing television and online videos, playing video games, using social media, exploring websites, creating content, e-reading, and other digital activities are all examples of entertainment screen use.

In terms of the sorts of devices used, the results suggest no significant changes in overall patterns of media usage by tweens and teens. Online videos have firmly established themselves at the top of the media pyramids of today's youth. During the epidemic, however, there was no significant growth in video gaming.

The media can be utilised for good or for ill. According to Mike Robb, senior director of research at Common Sense Media, vulnerable children are overusing media or using it in ways that contribute to mental health difficulties.

'We need to be able to recognise and assist those children.' However, there are some adolescents who use media to keep their spirits up, connect with peers, or support their mental health.

When compared to the last media use survey prior to the pandemic in 2019, the report discovered eight notable findings.Robb was impressed by the dramatic rise in screen time in the two years since the epidemic compared to the four years prior.

However, tweens and teens' media consumption increased by about 20% from 2019 to 2021. For tweens alone, this is over six times the growth seen prior to the epidemic. 'I'm also struck by the fact that 38% of tweens have used social media, despite the fact that most platforms aren't designed for children under the age of 13,' he added.

According to Robb, what kids do with media is just as significant as how much time they spend with it. Researchers were shocked to observe no significant increases in the distribution of new tablets and smartphones among tweens and teens.

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