Excessive screen time linked to anxiety, depression in kids

New research has linked too much screen time to mental health problems like anxiety and depression in children as young as two years old.


NSFW    SAN DIEGO — A new study has linked excessive gaming, watching TV, or on smartphones to anxiety and depression in kids as young as two.

Research published in Preventive Medicine Reports found that children and teens may have less curiosity, self-control, emotional stability, and a greater inability to finish tasks after just an hour of screen time a day.

Researchers analyzed a random sample of over 40,000 surveys from the 2016 National Survey of Children's Health, which looked at kids aged 2 to 17.

Adolescents aged 14 to 17 face the highest risk. Those who spent more than seven hours a day on screens were twice as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety and depression than those who spent only an hour.

But younger kids and toddlers whose brains are still developing were also affected. Preschoolers with high screen use were twice as likely to lose their temper. Forty-six percent of youngsters were also more likely to not be able to calm down once excited.

The findings validate the daily screen time limits set by the American Academy of Pediatrics — one hour for ages 2 to 5, and two for school-aged kids and adolescents.
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