Outdoor play reduces negative impacts of screen time


A Japanese study has found that outdoor play can mitigate some of the negative impacts of excessive screen time in young children.

New research from Japan indicates that more screen time at age two is associated with poorer communication and daily living skills at age four. But when kids also play outdoors, some of the negative effects of screen time are reduced.

In the study, which will be published in March in JAMA Pediatrics, the researchers followed 885 children from 18 months to four years of age. They looked at the relationship between three key features: average amount of screen time per day at age 2, amount of outdoor play at age 2 years 8 months, and neurodevelopmental outcomes-;specifically, communication, daily living skills, and socialization scores according to a standardized assessment tool called Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scale-II-;at age 4.

Although both communication and daily living skills were worse in 4-year-old children who had had more screen time at aged 2, outdoor play time had very different effects on these two neurodevelopmental outcomes. We were surprised to find that outdoor play didn’t really alter the negative effects of screen time on communication-;but it did have an effect on daily living skills.”

Kenji J. Tsuchiya, Professor at Osaka University and Study’s Lead Author

Specifically, almost one-fifth of the effects of screen time on daily living skills were mediated by outdoor play, meaning that increasing outdoor play time could reduce the negative effects of screen time on daily living skills by almost 20%. The researchers also found that, although it was not linked to screen time, socialization was better in 4-year-olds who had spent more time playing outside at 2 years 8 months of age.

More on this story at NewsMedical.net 

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