Screen-time and school performance

Your child’s grades are slipping - and their screen-time is expanding. Which of the following is most likely to blame? Too much

  1. Instagram
  2. Fortnite
  3. Netflix
  4. TikTok
  5. B and C
  6. A and D
  7. All of the above

If you guessed “E,” Fortnite and Netflix, you can go to the head of the class.  

Research published in the current issue of the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Pediatrics found that excessive TV viewing and gaming were the two screen-time activities most closely associated with lower grades for both children and teens. 

The study was a meta-analysis, which means it surveyed and synthesised the results of multiple previous studies - 58 of them in this case, involving some half-million subjects aged four to 18.

Its main finding? As TV viewing and gaming increase, academic performance decreases for all school-aged groups - but  the effect is stronger for teens than for younger children.

How TV affects school success

Watching more TV impacted language and math performance as well as an overall grades for teens. For primary-aged kids, only language and math abilities were affected. (For pre-schoolers - aged 2-3 - there was even some evidence that educational TV viewing conferred a language advantage.)

shutterstock_235212226Researchers speculated that excessive television-watching was displacing other activities - including physical play, conversation, studying and sleeping - and that this reduced mental effort in other areas. 

How gaming affects school success

The results around gaming were less emphatic, with only overall academic grades among teens impacted. Although gaming has been linked  to declines in verbal memory and restorative slow-wave sleep in school-aged children, it has also been shown to improve motor performance and spatial abilities.

Interestingly, the study found no correlation at all between mobile phone use and academic performance, or between good grades and screen-time in general.

failing mean girlsThere's no such thing as "screen-time"

Its conclusions cast further doubt on the assumption that “screen-time is screen-time” - and support an emerging consensus in the research community that the impact of screens on children is far more complex than has been previously thought.

“There are plenty of mindless things that you could be doing on a screen. But there are also interactive, exploratory things that you could be doing.”

Psychologist Alison Gopnik 

Factors like device used, purpose of task, content and context of use all influence how kids' screen-based activity affect them. And researchers are increasingly critical of studies that fail to take these variables into account, framing “screen-time” into a single overarching category.

If you’ve ever wondered why so much screen-time research seems contradictory - with some showing negative effects, others positive effects, and still others no effects at all -  it’s probably because factors like these have not been identified, these researchers maintain.






Healthy digital families stay up-to-date, have conversations that matter - and use Family Zone's strong, flexible parental controls to manage streaming content, online gaming and more.  

Tell me how!

Topics: Parental Controls, Screen time, Mobile Apps, academic achievement, school performance

Try Family Zone for FREE

Sign up now to try Family Zone for 1 month, totally free of charge.

Free Trial
Subscribe to our newsletter
Follow us on social media
Popular posts
Parental Controls | Cyber Safety | Cyber Experts | parenting | roblox
Roblox: What parents must know about this dangerous game for kids
Parental Controls | Screen time | youtube | smartphones | WhatsApp | suicide | self-harm | momo
MOMO unmasked
Parental Controls | Screen time | musical.ly | online predators | tiktok
It's the world's most popular app. And you've probably never heard of it.
Parental Controls | Pornography | Cyber Safety | Social Media | parenting | digital parenting
Pornstar to parents: shame on you!
Parental Controls | Cyber Safety | Cyber Experts | parenting | vpn
VPN apps: what are they and why are teens now using them?
Parental Controls | Mobile Apps | Cyber Safety | instagram
30 seconds: the time it takes to find porn on Instagram

Recent posts

 
Portrait of a paedophile

Recent figures show that online images of children being sexually abused have exploded over the past year. But who is fueling this ...

 
Screen-time and school performance

Your child’s grades are slipping - and their screen-time is expanding. Which of the following is most likely to blame? Too much

 
To raise a mentally strong human, do this

We all know the phrase “Happy wife, happy life.” But it turns out Mum’s happiness may be one of one of the secrets to raising successful, ...

 
Child sex abuse online "at breaking point"

The amount of child exploitation material online has doubled in the past year. What on earth is going on?