Slouching posture, carpal-tunnel, neck strain, eye problems. The negative effects that technology use is having on humans’ bodies are surprising. Kids who spend much of their days in and out of school, their faces glued to digital screens, may be establishing bad habits early. And according to a recent study by a group of Australian education and psychology experts, kids are spending more time with technology than researchers previously thought, far surpassing the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation that screen time should be limited to two hours per day.
The validity of the doctors’ guidelines is subject to question; even the study’s authors suggest adjusting the criteria to better align them with a world increasingly, and inevitably, inundated with technology. But pediatricians are closely monitoring the health risks associated with spending too time looking at screens, and they’re not yet convinced they should ease up the guidelines.
As part of the study, published Wednesday in the journal BMC Public Health, the team of researchers surveyed more than 2,000 Australian students ages eight through 16. The researchers gave the participants computerized assessments and asked them to estimate the amount of time they spent on the exam. The researchers’ intent was to understand how much time the kids were looking at all types of screens. The research marks the first time scientists have looked at students’ overall media use, according to the study. Earlier studies have focused specifically on how kids use just TV or only computers.