卓越實證概述 Best Evidence in Brief
Screen addicts missing out on GCSE potential

An article in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity investigated the association between GCSE results and three aspects of the way that teenagers had spent their time when they were 14.5 years old:

  1. Physical activity
  2. Screen time sedentary behaviour (TV/films, internet, computer games)
  3. Non-screen sedentary behaviour (reading, homework)

The study was based on 845 teenagers from Cambridgeshire and Suffolk. Data was taken from the ROOTS study, which aims to determine the relative contributions of genetic, physiological, psychological, and social variables to well-being and mental health during adolescence. Trained researchers administered questionnaires, conducted physical measurements, and gave instructions regarding physical activity measurements at participating schools.

The participants’ median daily screen time was approximately 1.9 hours. The authors found that:

  • Teenagers reporting an extra hour of daily screen time at 14.5 years old achieved 9.3 fewer GCSE points (almost two grades lower) at 16.
  • All three separate screen behaviours were independently negatively associated with academic performance.
  • However, participants doing an extra hour of daily homework and reading (up to four hours/day) achieved 23.1 more GCSE points (an increase of four grades).
  • Physical activity did not appear to be either detrimental or beneficial to academic performance.
  • Boys were more active and less sedentary than girls, and boys reported more screen time but less non-screen sedentary time than girls. Girls had higher academic performance than boys.

The authors noted some limitations in the study, including the possibility that less-academic pupils are likely to be doing the less-academic subjects and may be given less homework.

 

Corder, K., Atkin, A. J., Bamber, D. J., Brage, S., Dunn, V. J., Ekelund, U., … Goodyer, I. M. (2015). Revising on the run or studying on the sofa: prospective associations between physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and exam results in British adolescents. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 12, 106.… Read the rest

Screen time or story time?

An article published in Frontiers of Psychology analyses differences in parent-child talk and reading behaviour when reading print versus electronic versions of the same books.

Parents of 102 children aged 17-26 months from Toronto, Canada, were randomly assigned to read either two electronic books or two print format books with their child. The books had identical content, but while the parent read the words in the print books aloud, the electronic books had an automatic voiceover. After reading, the children were asked to identify an animal presented in the books. Children who read the e-book made more correct choices.

Gabrielle Strouse and Patricia Ganea found that:

  • Parents who read the print books pointed more frequently to pages than parents who read the electronic books. But the opposite was true for the children.
  • Parents and children spent almost twice as much time reading the electronic books as the print format books.
  • Children who were read the electronic books paid more attention, made themselves more available for reading, participated in more page turns, and produced more content-related comments during reading than those who were read the print format books.

The researchers point out that while increased engagement does not always translate into increased learning, the positive engagement and content-related language observed in the children who were read the electronic books suggests they have a role in supporting learning for younger children. However, more work should be done to identify the potential benefits and hazards.

 

Strouse, G. A., & Ganea, P. A. (2017). Parent–toddler behavior and language differ when reading electronic and print picture books. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, 677.… Read the rest

Mediating media

A study published in JAMA Pediatrics explores parental monitoring of children’s media use. It examines its effects on physical, social, and academic outcomes, and the links between monitoring children’s media use and a wide range of these outcomes.

A total of 1,323 children aged 8-11 from ten schools in Iowa and Minnesota were recruited to participate. The authors collected data at the beginning and end of one school year from home and school surveys, and from a primary caregiver and teacher for each child. Measures included health (height, weight, BMI), as well as demographics, parental monitoring of media, total screen time, media violence exposure, school performance, and well-being.

The study revealed that:

  • Increased parental monitoring was correlated with a reduction in children’s total screen time, which in turn resulted in more sleep.
  • More monitoring was also correlated with improved school performance, increased pro-social behaviour, and lower aggressive behaviour.
  • Exposure to media violence predicted lower pro-social behaviour and higher aggressive behaviour.
  • Increased parental monitoring was correlated with less exposure to media violence, which in turn was correlated with increased pro-social behaviour and decreased aggressive behaviour. The researchers controlled for parental education, marital status, child gender, and minority status.

Although the American Academy of Pediatrics makes a number of general recommendations on total screen time, the authors suggest it may be useful for parents to know that there are four types of parental monitoring: co-viewing with the child; restricting amount of time; restricting the types of content; and actively discussing the meaning and effects of media content with children (active mediation).

 

Gentile, D. A., Reimer, R. A., Nathanson, A. I., Walsh, D. A., & Eisenmann, J. C. (2014). Protective effects of parental monitoring of children’s media use: a prospective study. JAMA Pediatrics, 168(5), 479–484.… Read the rest

Better evidence needed on appropriate screen time for children

briefing paper published by the British Psychological Society states that much of the evidence for the negative effects of screen use in children and teenagers is not based on robust enough science.

The report recognises that the issue of children’s digital media use is more complex than just screen time and calls for new guidelines to be built on robust evidence. To do this, it offers a number of recommendations for government officials, policy makers and practitioners interested in the impact of social media and digital technology on children and young people’s mental health.

Recommendations for research include:

  • Studies should be designed which can identify causality and increase our understanding of when screen use is harmful and when it is beneficial.
  • More qualitative methods, such as interviews, ethnography and participatory research should be employed with young people to understand their media practices and what they want from digital media.

It also offers guidance for families on how to reduce the negative impact that technology can have on some young people’s mental health, which include:

  • Discuss the different aspects of digital media with children and encourage positive media use.
  • Minimise screen use before bed time.
  • Encourage children to engage in a variety of activities away from screens.

 

Galpin, A. & Taylor, G. (2018). Changing behavior: children, adolescents and screen use. Leicester, England: The British Psychological Society.… Read the rest

Effective reading programmes for secondary pupils

Ariane Baye from the University of Liege and Cynthia Lake, Amanda Inns and Robert Slavin from the Center for Research and Reform in Education have completed an update to their report on effective secondary reading programmes. The paper, A Synthesis of Quantitative Research on Reading Programs for Secondary Studentsfocuses on 69 studies that used random assignment (n=62) or high-quality quasi-experiments (n=7) to evaluate outcomes of 51 programmes on widely accepted measures of reading.

The authors found that:

  • Categories of programmes using one-to-one and small-group tutoring, cooperative learning, whole-school approaches including organisational reforms such as teacher teams, and writing-focused approaches showed positive outcomes.
  • Individual approaches in a few other categories also showed positive impacts. These approaches included programmes emphasising humanities/science, structured strategies and personalised and group/personalisation rotation approaches for struggling readers.
  • Programmes that provide a daily extra period of reading and those utilising technology were no more effective, on average, than programmes that did not provide these resources.

The findings suggest that secondary readers benefit more from socially and cognitively engaging instruction than from additional reading periods or technology.

 

Baye, A., Lake, C., Inns, A. & Slavin, R. E. (2018). A synthesis of quantitative research on reading programs for secondary students. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University, Center for Research and Reform in Education.… Read the rest