New study shows that children as young as two can suffer from depression due to screen time

  • We earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article.
  • A new study has revealed that excessive screen time for children can lead to mental health problems.

    With screen time among one of the biggest causes of stress for parents and one of the main triggers for arguments between parents and children, parents are already well aware of the health risks of too much screen time.

    But new research has suggested that too much time watching TV as well as using tablets and computers can even damage the mental health of children as young as two.

    Researchers from the US have found that just one hour of screen time a day can lead to children and adolescents having less curiosity, lower self-control and lower emotional stability.

    The study, published in the journal Preventative Medicine Reports, suggests that this can lead to the young people being prone to an increased risk of anxiety and even depression.

    Although the researchers found that these effects were more common in adolescents aged 14 to 17, as they used screens for social media as opposed to just watching TV like younger children might, they did notice links in toddlers and younger children as well.

    screen time leads to depression

    Credit: Getty

    They also found that nursery age children were twice as likely to lose their temper if they were frequently exposed to screen time.

    And when it comes to pre-teen children study, leaders found that they were affected too.

    Findings suggested that nine per cent children aged 11 to 13 who spent an hour a day using screens were not curious to learn new things. This number rose significantly to 22.6 per cent in children who used screens for seven or more hours a day.

    ‘Half of mental health problems develop by adolescence,’ said Professor Jean Twenge and Professor Keith Campbell, authors of the study.

    ‘Thus, there is an acute need to identify factors linked to mental health issues that are amenable to intervention in this population, as most antecedents are difficult or impossible to influence.’

    The authors advise that you try to reduce your children’s screen time as much as possible in order to reduce the risk of mental health problems.