Playing sport for at least two hours a week could be the antidote to the perils of screen time, a study suggests
18th April 2019
Scientists who observed 2,400 families found that two hours or more a day on devices such as smartphones and watching TV was linked to high rates of behavioural problems in small children that seemed to be offset by participation in organised sport.
Piush Mandhane, of the University of Alberta, who led the study, said: “It wasn’t physical activity on its own that was protective; the activity needed to have structure. The more time children spent doing organised sports, the less likely they were to exhibit behavioural problems.”
Compared with children who had less than 30 minutes a day of screen time, those exposed to more than two hours were five times more likely to exhibit behaviours such as poor concentration. They were nearly eight times more likely to meet the criteria for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to the study published yesterday in the online journal Plos One.
Although the research could not prove that screen time generated behaviour problems, and other studies have discounted the possibility of a causal link, the authors highlighted factors they believe could protect against negative effects. Playing organised sport appeared to have the strongest association with improved behaviour.
For most children, the beneficial effect on behaviour linked to sports was about half as large as the negative effect linked to excessive screen time.
'Entrepreneurship in schools is not a bolt-on, a club or occasional activity: it's life'
Jonathan Forster, principal of Moreton Hall, writes how entrepreneurship is embedded within a school and discusses what it can do for every type of student learner.
After 27 years as a head of an independent school, I cannot help but reflect that far too much time has been spent playing a game called 'education' which in reality should be called 'passing exams'.
As teachers, we are all too aware of having to 'teach to the test', the tyranny of league tables and the demands of parents. Yet we collude in this system and fail to make our voices heard in the rebalancing of education to value the power of creativity and the imagination, as well as promoting the important skills of learning and analysis.
Before my colleagues in the independent sector dismiss this as hypocrisy from a head who uses league tables as a marketing tool, let's just identify what entrepreneurship which is embedded within a school can do for EVERY type of student learner.
"Moreton Enterprises" (ME), in one guise or another, has been in existence at Moreton Hall, a girls' boarding and day school in Shropshire, for well over 30 years.
I didn't invent it.
Of course I identified ME as a USP, as a way of promoting the school, but much more importantly I recognised that its enormous value was as a learning platform for every different type of sixth form student.
My experience has shown me that students become better at playing the exam system (passing GCSE and A-level exams) when they learn to value their creativity and assess its value in a non-academic, commercial context- Moreton Enterprises, for example.