Too much screen time is often blamed for children’s sedentary lifestyles, but new research has challenged this view, finding no link between TV watching and how much time children spend in unstructured play.
The study surveyed 564 parents from around Australia about how much time their children spent in unstructured play, or games that are played without adult supervision.
Activities like climbing trees, exploring nature or playing with blocks are all examples of unstructured play.
We know that unstructured play is very good for young children’s social, cognitive and physical development.
Watching too much TV or excessive screen time is often blamed for children not getting outside and playing enough, but our results did not show that.
Additionally, the average amount of TV watched by children in our survey was 1.83 hours, which is within the Australian guidelines which recommend no more than two hours of screen time per day.
With regards to sleeping, it is unclear if children sleep more because they play more, or vice versa.
Dr Bronwyn Harman,
Edith Cowan University (ECU)