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Screen Time Affects Teens' Feelings of Detachment

More time in front of television and computer linked to detachment from parents and peers

FRIDAY, March 5 (HealthDay News) -- In adolescents, increased time spent viewing television, videos or DVDs, gaming, and using computers may be associated with poor attachment to parents and peers, according to research published in the March issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Rosalina Richards, Ph.D., of the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand, and colleagues analyzed data from the 1987 to 1988 Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study of 976 participants aged 15 years and from the 2004 Youth Lifestyle Study on 3,043 participants ages 14 to 15 years.

In both groups, the researchers found that increased television viewing time and decreased reading and homework time were associated with low attachment to parents. In the Youth Lifestyle Study cohort, they found that increased computer time was associated with low attachment to parents, and in the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study cohort they found that increased television viewing was associated with low attachment to peers.

"Given the importance of attachment to parents and peers for adolescent health and development, concern about high levels of screen time among adolescents is warranted," the authors conclude. "With the rapid advance of screen-based options for entertainment, communication, and education, ongoing research is needed to monitor the effect that these technologies have on social development and psychological and physical well-being among adolescents."

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