A study conducted by Russell et al has revealed that many children
using current modern devices engage in multiple forms of screen-viewing
Innumerable children are engaged in this activity 24/7!
What began in the society as TV viewing has now extended to other
diverse forms such as computer and video games. TV programs can now be watched
on computers and games consoles can easily be used to browse through the
internet. Various other combinations of programs and devices are also
accessible to children. Sadly, such technological boom has collectively led to
sedentary life among modern youth.
Screen-viewing, including watching TV, computer games or internet usage
has been linked to increased body mass, worse risk of metabolic syndrome and a
dip in the overall well-being among kids and adolescents. A higher mortality
rate has also been reported.
Currently sufficient information is not available regarding the nature
of screen -viewing in present-day children especially with regard to the
advances in technology and the widespread availability of these devices.
The focus of the current study was to evaluate the following -
• Types of screen-viewing the participants engaged in
• Number of forms of screen-viewing the participants engaged in
• Whether the participants ever engaged in more than one form of
screen-viewing at any given time
• Nature of multiple viewing that was indulged in
• Reasons for engaging in multi-screen-viewing activity
• Room in the subject's house where the multi-screen-viewing was
engaged in and the reasons for using that room.
Sixty-three children between 10 and 11-years who were recruited from
five primary schools in Bristol, UK, formed the subjects.
Ten focus group participants were formed through random selection of 3
boys and 3 girls as members of each group. Some students chose to drop out, as
a result of which there were only a total of fifty-five students and 4-6
students in each group.
The focus groups were conducted in school classrooms and the proceedings
were recorded using a digital recorder. One focus group team member facilitated
the groups while another took notes during the group meetings.
The study revealed that multi-screen viewing has become habitual
activity among UK children. It involved watching TV as the background behavior,
with additional focus on other equipments such as laptop and handheld devices
such as a smart-phone.
Three main reasons were noted for children to engage in multi-screen
1) It was an enjoyable activity
2) Impatience associated with a program- loading was avoided with the
help of multi- screen viewing.
3) Unwanted content such as advertisements were filtered out by
Multi-screen viewing activity mostly occurred in the child's bedroom or
in the living area of a home. Depending on the participation of the subjects in
after-school club activities the level of multi screen viewing and the timings
US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey discovered that
adults participating in long periods of time spent sitting has been linked to
disastrous health outcomes, while taking breaks in between sitting time is
associated to lower waist circumference and reduced C-reactive protein levels.
A high level of screen viewing was observed among UK children, with TV
viewing as the backdrop. This was because it was easier to watch TV and engage
in another activity, such as playing video games or chatting using a laptop.
High levels of TV viewing among the youth have been associated with
increased risk of obesity as adults.
Several organizations have recognized the potential health hazards
related to exceedingly high levels of screen-viewing and are seeking to reduce
the habit, especially among the youth. Currently there were neither clear-cut
methods to assess the level of multi-screen viewing in children nor were there
any tested interventional methods available to reduce this habit among
to achieve moderate viewing there is a need to understand why children indulge in the multi-screen viewing and study the factors that influence it.
The data derived from the study has also
reiterated that new strategies must be developed to be able to reduce