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See Inside January / February 2011

Preteens and Glowing Screens

Excessive television or computer use may indicate psychological problems

Kids who spend their time glued to a glowing screen may be faring poorly psychologically, suggests new research from the University of Bristol in England. Psychologists tracked the amount of free time children aged 10 and 11 spent in front of the computer or television, their psychological states and their physical activity. The more screen time kids had, the more likely they were to report feelings of loneliness, sadness or negativity, regardless of their level of physical activity. The researchers cannot say whether computer or TV time contributes to the kids’ distress or whether children with preexisting mental health problems are drawn to video games and sitcoms. But either way, excessive use may be a warning sign of deeper psychological issues.

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