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Excessive use of electronic devices harms children’s school performance
By Winnie Tam, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Interactive technology (e.g., Internet, social media, video games, etc.) is an integral part of life for youth. In a recently published research paper in Computers and Human Behavior, Anthony and colleagues report the impact of amounts of interactive technology use on school engagement and academic performance. Two-wave survey data of 9,449 middle school students (mean age = 13.5 years) were collected in 2013-2014 and 2014-15 from the China Education Panel Survey (CEPS), a national survey in China.
Students reported the time spent on their electronic devices for entertainment on school days and on weekends. Academic performance was assessed with midterm scores (Chinese, English and Mathematics), cognitive competency was measured by 20 test items (verbal, figure, quantitative). Truancy, educational aspirations, concentration in class, and boredom at school were reported by students one year later as proxy for school engagement.
After a comparison with those who did not spend any time on interactive technology for entertainment / non-school related activities, the findings showed:
The authors recommended a preliminary guideline with a moderate threshold for technology entertainment which may minimize potential adverse effects: