What students could achieve by swapping screen time for study, exercise or work | Goulburn Post

A screen time calculator created by KIS Academics has lifted the lid on what students could achieve by substituting screen time with study, exercise or work. Image Shutterstock

New data has revealed that students who spend an average of five hours a day on social media miss out on reading up to four books or completing 18 practice exams per week.

A screen time calculator created by education experts and tutoring services providers KIS Academics has lifted the lid on what students could achieve by substituting screen time with study, exercise or work.

KIS Academics found that spending 35 hours a week on social media could prevent teenagers from earning an additional $1400 through part-time work or learning 350 words of a new language per week.

On top of increasing productivity, reducing screen time could have dramatic positive effects on a teen’s mental health, according to the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS).

As reported by the AIFS, excessive screen time can have several negative consequences for students aged 5-17 years, including behavioral problems, anxiety, hyperactivity and a lack of self-esteem.

Meanwhile, a study published by BMC Public Health found that screen time could also have detrimental effects on aspects of physical health, like weight gain and neck and back pain.

Out of 268 school-aged children surveyed by BMC, more than half showed that there was a correlation between screen time and obesity (50.6 per cent), as well as sight-related issues (59.2 per cent).

As for what teenagers could be doing to improve their mental health, the University of South Australia’s Dr Stephanie Centofanti recommended swapping screen time with sleep.

“Teens spend a lot of time on devices, whether it’s texting friends, playing games, or watching videos, using technology late into the night is one of the most common disruptors of good sleep.

“Overuse of technology can also contribute to mental health issues like increased anxiety,” Centofanti said (via UniSA).

Fellow researcher Dr Alex Agostini concurred: “Research shows that teenagers need at least eight hours of sleep each night.

“Without this, they’re less able to deal with stressors, such as bullying or social pressures, and run the risk of developing behavioral problems, as well as anxiety and depression.

“Not only can technology use make us feel anxious and awake, but the blue light emitted from technology inhibits the production of the sleep hormone melatonin to delay the natural onset of sleep,” added Centofanti.

“This is problematic because teens already have a biological tendency to want to stay up late and sleep in.

“To make a real difference to teenage mental health, both parents and medical practitioners must understand how sleep can impact mental health concerns in teenagers.”

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