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Media use in excess of 45 minutes per day negatively affects children

Affected: After four hours of screen time, children take 20 times longer to fall asleep than children with limited media use.Photo: Jean-Pierre Dalbéra / Flickr CC 3.0

It takes only three-quarters of an hour to do the damage. After about 45 minutes of media, children's grades, sleep, social skills, and emotional balance start to decline. After four hours, only 1 per cent of children in middle school receive A's in Mathematics and English Language Arts. And, after four hours of screen time, children take 20 times longer to fall asleep than children with limited media use.

That's what the Learning Habit study has found after examining family routines in 46,000 US homes of children in grades K-12. Published September in the American Journal of Family Therapy and in a book titled The Learning Habit, the research team from Brown University School of Medicine, Brandeis University, Children's National Medical Center and New England Center for Pediatric Psychology found that 'empowerment parenting' is more effective than 'traditional parenting' methods.

The psycho-social research study meant to look at the influence of the home environment on school-age children identified this parenting style as the most powerful influence on children's academic success. The Learning Habit project is the culmination of three years of research, including the online study conducted during the fall of 2013.

Among the study's findings are:

  • School: Nearly 38 per cent of all primary school children depend on their parents to go to school to pick up forgotten items. These figures fluctuate between the ages of five and nine, but remain at the 38 per cent mark throughout the remaining school years.
  • Parenting Style: Empowerment parenting, a style using thoughtful rules and effort-based praise to reward desired behavior, is most effective for developing grit and social skills.
  • Grit: Over 40 per cent of parents' report that their child will quit when asked to perform a strenuous or difficult task. Media use was found to have a detrimental effect on grit scores.
  • Chores: Researchers indicate that habits regarding chores, studying, and media consumption do not change after of the age of nine, without parental intervention. Two activities that influence grit scores in children are media use and household chores.
  • Homework: 10 minutes of homework per grade in school was positively correlated with children's GPA. Excess time on academic homework showed no additional benefit.
Date posted: July 6, 2015 Last modified: May 24, 2018 Total views: 22