Media multitasking may be harmful to the mental health of school-aged children

In PLOS One, researchers from the University of Luxembourg and Universie´ de Genève showed how negative implications of electronic media use among children rely heavily on the type of media consumption and not the quantity or duration of it.

Children aged 8 to 12 were included in the study, with a total of 118 participants of both genders.

The participants were administered questionnaires, which assessed media use, physical health, sleep, mental health, and academic achievements.

“We observe that children consume large amounts of media and media multitask substantially,” according to the study. “Partial correlation analyses show that media multitasking specifically was mostly correlated with negative mental health, while playing video games was associated with faster responding and better mental health.”

“Here we investigated three main aspects of media consumption behavior—total media hours, media multitasking and video gaming—among a population of 8 to 12-year old children.”

The authors of the study concluded: “The present work addresses the relationships between these three distinct forms of media consumption and attentional and behavioral control (measured through both cognitive tests and questionnaires), mental health and sleep, grades, grit and mindset.”