Getting the children outdoors and away from their screens may feel like an uphill struggle for some parents, but new research suggests the fight is worth it.
A study by researchers at the University of Adelaide have found that less screen time and more green time lead to better psychological outcomes for children and adolescents.
With the plethora of devices and the entertainment options they offer, children are spending increasing amounts of time looking at screens each day, while the hours outside in the garden or nature are diminishing.
Tassia Oswald and colleagues at the University of Adelaide analyzed the findings of 186 studies into the link between screen time, green time, and the impact on the psychological impact on children and adolescents, including mental health, cognitive functioning and academic achievement.
Their findings, published in the PLOS ONE journal, find a link between high levels of screen time and “unfavorable pschological outcomes”.
Contrasting with this, more green time resulted in “favorable psychological outcomes”.
The researchers suggested that green time should be increasingly viewed as a public health resource in promoting psychological wellbeing among young people.
They concluded that more green time could work to counteract the negative psychological impact of high levels of screen time.
Oswald said: “This systematic scoping review highlights that nature may currently be an under-utilized public health resource, which could potentially function as an upstream preventative and psychological well-being promotion intervention for children and adolescents in a high-tech era.”