With every hour spent in front of a screen, children are more at risk of committing suicide.

A study published in the journal Preventive Medicine found that the more time children aged 9 to 11 spend in front of a screen of electronic devices, the higher the risk of developing suicidal behavior.

In particular, the authors of the study found that for every additional hour children spend on their cell phones or other gadgets, watching videos, playing video games, chatting or taking part in video calls, there is a 9 percent increase in the risk of suicidal behavior two years later.

The study examined the largest long-term data set on brain development in the United States. The Adolescent Brain and Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study, which examined screen time in 11,633 children aged 9 to 11, followed for two years.

The juveniles answered questions about the time they spent in front of six different screen modalities, as well as suicidal behavior. This study was conducted before the COVID-19 pandemic, which itself had an additional negative impact on the mental health of young people.

Jason Nagata, lead researcher on the study and assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, noted that gadget use among minors can lead to social isolation, cyberbullying and sleep disturbance, which can worsen mental health. “Increased screen time often crowds out time for in-person interactions, physical activity and sleep,” she said.

“Screen time can have important benefits such as education and socialization, but parents should try to mitigate the adverse mental health risks associated with excessive screen time,” Nagata suggested.

Source: Juventud Rebelde


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