WEDNESDAY, Sept. 2, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Children who spend too much time on computers or watching TV may have poorer reading and math skills, a new study finds.
Researchers analyzed school test data of more than 1,200 Australian children when they were 8 and 9 years of age and again two years later. Parents were asked about their child's use of electronic media.
Kids who watched two or more hours of TV a day at age 8 or 9 had lower reading scores two years later, compared with those who watched less TV. The loss was equivalent to four months of learning.
Using a computer for more than an hour a day was linked to a similar loss of ability to work with numbers.
No link was identified between playing video games and school performance, according to findings published Sept. 2 in the journal PLOS ONE.
The findings could help parents, teachers and health care providers create plans and recommendations for electronic media use in late childhood, according to the authors.
Lead researcher Lisa Mundy is a project manager at Murdoch Children's Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia.
Her team suggested building on these results by examining continued links between electronic media and students' performance in high school.
"The debate about the effects of modern media on children's learning has never been more important given the effects of today's pandemic on children's use of time," the authors said in a journal news release.
Previous research has linked youngsters' use of electronic media with obesity, poor sleep and other physical health risks, but less has been known about the association between electronic media and school performance.
The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry has more on screen time.
SOURCE: PLOS ONE, news release, Sept. 2, 2020