There have long been fears about the time children spend on their phone, and a new study has revealed that the average time spent by children playing video games on smartphones or using computers has increased by 30 minutes a day between 2000 and 2015.
However, the Oxford University research also gave a breath of relief by stating that parents need not worry as the kids can multitask and adapt their behaviour to include their devices. Much like adults, they are able to multi-task and also do all the things that they would do anyway.
Children were spending 10 minutes less time watching TV between 2000 and 2015, it said. But, their time playing video games and using computers increased by 40 minutes, giving an overall increase of 30 minutes in the time children spent on traditional screen-based activities.
The study also said that technology was not consuming children's time and attention, as was commonly perceived.
Conversely, children's increasing use of technology was spread throughout the day while they were engaging in many other activities, like studying, eating, playing, socialising, etc.
"While this is undeniably a considerable amount of time, taken with context it suggests less cause for alarm. In fact, the study reveals that rather than allowing their devices to take over their lives, children are combining the use of new technology with other activities," said Killian Mullan, a Senior Research Associate, at the Oxford University.
"Our findings show that technology is being used with and in some cases perhaps to support other activities, like homework for instance, and not pushing them out.
"Children are incorporating technology into daily life. They are taking the tech with them and they are doing all the things that they would do anyway," Killian explained.
In addition, the study, published in the journal Child Indicators Research, revealed that boys spend significantly more time playing video games compared to girls, spending 50 minutes per day, compared to their nine minutes.
One reason for this can be because children increasingly use their technology while doing other things such as socialising and studying.
For the study, the team combined data from two surveys 2000-01 and 2014-15, to study changes in screen-based activities and to build a detailed picture of the time children spend using technology.
(with IANS inputs)