Virtually Impossible? Promoting Healthy Screen Time Habits Among Australian Children and Adolescents.
1The University of Western Australia, Centre for Child & Adolescent Related Disorders, Australia
2Strathclyde University, Glasgow
3The University of Western Australia, School of Sport Science, Exercise and Health, Australia
4The University of Western Australia, School of Population Health, Australia
5National Heart Foundation of Western Australia
Background: Screens, in particular mobile devices, are the centrepiece of young people’s lives. Is the recommendation that parents limit children’s screen time to < 2 hours per day a realistic objective? Primary Objective: To determine Australian 8-16 year olds screen use, particularly in the context of the < 2 hours recommendation. Research Questions: To what extent are Australian children/adolescents exceeding the 2 hour recommendation? Method: On line survey of screen use on “a typical weekday” with 2,553 8-16 year olds from 26 schools. A new Youth Orientation to Screen Use Scale (YOSUS) was developed. Results: Two factors (Salience [S] & Mood Management [MM]) (CFI=.98, NFI=.98, RMSEA=.048)emerged. Hierarchical linear models revealed increasing gender disparity with main effects of Gaming, Social Networking, Web Use, and TV; different significant predictors for males/females evident. Screen use (0-2 hours, 2.1-4 hours, 4.1-6 hours, over 6.1 hours) revealed main effects for S & MM. Discussion: Young people exceed 2 hours by varying degrees on different activities (with differing associated effects). Findings are important for promoting healthy screen time habits.