The new study showed that children enjoy looking at more than one screen at a time, or as researchers called it, "multiple screen viewing." The rise of "multiple screens" viewing among children on devices including portable game systems and televisions may have an effect on how active children are, researchers say.
The data is based on a survey of around 63 10- and 11-year-olds who were asked about their screen time. Most said they enjoyed looking at more than one screen at a time. The survey was conducted by researchers at Bristol and Loughborough universities in the UK, who published the results Wednesday.
"Health campaigns recommend reducing the amount of time children spend watching TV," said Russ Jago, of Bristol University's centre for exercise, nutrition and health sciences. "However, the children in this study often had access to at least five different devices at any one time, and many of these devices were portable."
In the study the children would move the equipment between their bedrooms and family rooms, depending on whether they wanted privacy or not.
"This suggests that we need to work with families to develop strategies to limit the overall time spent multiscreen viewing wherever it occurs within the home."
The children would also use a second device to fill in breaks during their entertainment, often talking or texting their friends during commercials or while waiting for a computer game to load. The television was also used to provide "background entertainment" while they were doing something else, according to researchers.
"There is a shortage of information about the nature of contemporary screen viewing amongst children, especially given the rapid advances in screen viewing equipment technology and their widespread availability," Jago said. "For example, TV programmes are watched on computers, games consoles can be used to surf the internet, smartphones, tablet computers and hand-held games play music, video games provide internet access, and laptop computers can do all of the above."
The research paper is called "I'm on it 24/7 at the moment: A qualitative examination of multiscreen viewing behaviours among UK 10-11 year olds," and has been published in the International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity.
Source: The Guardian