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Eur J Public Health. 2013 Jun;23(3):492-8. doi: 10.1093/eurpub/cks102. Epub 2012 Aug 8.

Electronic screen use and mental well-being of 10-12-year-old children.

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Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.



Today's children spend a great deal of time viewing electronic screen material, but the consequences of such behaviors, if any, are unknown. This study sought to identify (i) the magnitude of total daily electronic screen time and (ii) the relations between electronic screen use and mental well-being indicators, in a sample of 10-12-year-old children.


We analysed cross-sectional, population-based data of 10-12-year-old children from the 2007 Youth in Iceland school survey (n = 10,829, response rate: 81.7%, boys: 50.5%). Logistic regression models with odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were conducted to assess the odds of each selected mental well-being indicator, depending on the number of daily hours spent on each electronic screen-based activity. All analyses were conducted separately for boys and girls and adjusted for family structure.


The prevalence of self-reported screen use of 4 hours per day or more ranges from 2.8% to 6.6% among boys and from 1.0% to 3.8% among girls. All five screen-based activities were significantly associated with all seven well-being indicators (P < 0.001) with symptoms being more common with increased time spent on screen use.


This study is the first of its kind to demonstrate a dose-response relationship between electronic screen use and mental well-being in 10-12-year-old children. Further research is needed to assess the validity and potential implications of these findings.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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