Potential impacts of dual-screening
Researchers at Bristol and Loughborough Universities said that dual-screening, such as playing computer games and watching TV simultaneously, increases the risk of obesity and mental health issues.
Using a smartphone while watching TV or playing video games is becoming increasingly normal. As children spend more time on multiple devices, they spend less time on physical activity, which may impact their health.
Using multiple screens at a time will affect children’s level of concentration. For example, trying to read online while having the TV in the background can distract a child. If such behaviour is continued over a prolonged period, it may become a bad habit that a child picks up.
What parents and carers can do
Instead of using multiple screens, it is best to encourage children to use one screen at a time. This will help them to focus on the task that they are doing. Parents can encourage children to do non-screen activities, such as playing outside, before going on to the next screen activity. By doing so, children will have to physically move and take a break from the screen.
Have a regular discussion with your child about healthy tech habits. Talk to your child when they need to focus on a task. For example, they should use only one screen when doing homework.
Create a space at home for your child where they can focus on just one thing at a time. For example, a special study area so they can concentrate on their work without having the TV or other form of screen distractions near them.
Keep distractions at a minimum by removing clutter on the table, including mobile phones, iPads or other gadgets. Also, find out what your child’s concentration level is. For example, if you know your child can sit and focus for 30 minutes, ensure that there are no distractions during that period.
Finally, your child will be influenced by your digital tech use. Therefore, encourage positive online behaviour by being your child’s role model. If your child sees you using multiple screens at a time, then your child will likely follow that habit. As such, being a good digital role model to your child is important to their digital wellbeing.