We have known for a long time that kids who spent more time watching TV were more likely to be obese. This was thought to be due to the fact that sedentary time in front of the television replaced physical activity. This shifted the balance towards eating more and moving less, leading to weight gain. Add to that the fact that advertisements influenced eating habits by promoting high-calorie foods.
Now the term “screen time” is used because it includes time spent in front of a wide range of electronic devices including computers, video players, and tablets. Since these devices can be used almost anyplace, they create opportunities for sedentary time far beyond the couch.
But the impact of screen time goes far beyond physical inactivity, as a recent article in the New York Times explains. Given the accessibility of these devices, we are sure to hear more about how they can impact children’s health, behavior, and learning. As a parent, I know it is something I will be paying close attention to.