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Too much time on screen based electronic media may be bad for the health of kids

Fans visit Nintendo World store in New York.
Fans visit Nintendo World store in New York.
Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

The electronic media revolution has changed the way we live our lives. This is not without potential health hazards. Children’s access to e-games has increased dramatically in recent years reported Taylor & Francis on April 29, 2014. There are concerns too much time on screen based electronic media could have harmful effects on the health of kids.

It has been estimated in developed countries kids spend as much as 4-8 hours daily using screen based electronic media. About 50 percent of all kids have e-games in their bedroom. Kids generally consider use of e-games as a socially acceptable part of daily life. However, there are growing concerns about the increased usage of e-games and negative health consequences on kids.

There have been associations found between high e-game usage and a myriad of health problems including increased BMI, sleep deprivation, depression, vision problems, poor academic achievement, musculoskeletal health issues and markers for cardio-metabolic disorders. Kids are often becoming too sedentary due to excessive time using electronic media. But, more active e-games have been shown to enhance motor competence and positively influence learning, confidence and social integration. Therefore if they are used properly e-games could be used as a tool for health education, family cohesion, fun and learning.

The authors of this study have suggested a series of sensible guidelines for the use of e-games by kids. In the US they recommend kids should have no more than 2 hours a day of exposure to electronic media. In Canada electronic media have been banned from kid’s bedrooms. Clearly in the US more aggressive initiatives are needed to deal with the rising health problems associated with over use of e-games by kids.

This study focusing on evidence based guidelines for the wise use of electronic games by kids has been published in the journal Ergonomics. The researchers have concluded e-games are an important part of life for many kids. Evidence has suggested these games impact on many aspects of children's behavior and health and development. However, there is a lack of convincing evidence in regard to many of these issues.

It is clearly advisable to pursue further research into this matter with the expectation of more initiatives to make reasonable guidelines for e-game use by kids available for the public. Efforts should be made via insightful adds on TV and online to make these suggestions appeal to kids due to the difficulties which parents often encounter in having kids take their suggestions regarding limiting time on electronic media.