Researchers from the LIFE (Physical Activity, Fitness and Health) research group at the Universitat Jaume I, together with researchers from the Health and Social Research Center of the University of Castilla-La Mancha, have analysed 5,599 scientific articles and have concluded that there is a negative association between screen-based activities, specifically time watching television or playing video games, and academic performance in children and adolescents.

The study suggests that this negative effect of screen time on academic performance appears greater in adolescence than in childhood. However, it is not the total amount of time that is associated with academic performance, but the type of activities that are performed. That reinforces the need to investigate individually what kind of screen activities are performed.

The study “Association between screen media use and academic performance among children and adolescents. A systematic review and meta-analysis” has recently been published in JAMA Pediatrics, the journal with the highest impact factor in the area of paediatrics.

The conclusions of this study emphasise that each screen-based activity should be analysed individually for its different association with academic performance, particularly television viewing and video games, which appear to be the activities that most negatively influence academic outcomes. The study analysed the association of time or frequency of computer use, Internet, mobile, television and video games, as well as total screen time, with overall academic performance indicators in the areas of language and mathematics.

The authors call on education and public health professionals to consider monitoring and reducing these activities as strategies to improve academic performance in children and adolescents. Adelantado-Renau assures that, in addition, “it is fundamental to take into account the content and purpose of the use of screen devices because both could strongly influence the association that has been analysed”.

The study was carried out by Mireia Adelantado-Renau, Diego Moliner-Urdiales and María Reyes Beltrán-Valls from the Universitat Jaume I of Castelló, and Iván Cavero-Redondo, Celia Álvarez-Bueno and Vicente Martínez-Vizcaíno from the Health and Social Research Center of the University of Castilla-La Mancha.

Source: Asociación RUVID
Full bibliographic information

JAMA Pediatr. 2019; 173 (11): 1058-1067.