You probably like spending time online, watching TV, or playing video games – but could all this screen-time be ruining your results? Sadly, it seems so, according to research conducted by Cambridge University. In what is certain to be seen as bad news for many teenagers, the research found that the GCSE results of 14-year-olds suffered with as little as one hour per day spent relaxing in front of the TV, online, or playing computer games.
The results were considerable too, with just one hour of leisure time spent in front of a screen said to cost nine fewer points at GCSE – the equivalent of dropping from a B to a D! The problem is multiplied too – with two hours of screen time leading to an 18 point drop!
This is bad news for teens who already find themselves under pressure from parents to spend less time watching TV or online. However, let’s take a look at the findings a little more before you throw out your television or computer.
The study looked at 845 pupils from secondary schools in Cambridgeshire and Suffolk, examining a number of different factors, including the impact of physical activity on results. While physical activity was not found to have either a negative or a positive effect on educational attainment, it was found that screen-time had a negative impact – particularly when it came to watching TV!
Kirsten Corder, who authored the report, asserted, “Spending more time in front of a screen appears to be linked to a poorer performance at GCSE,” adding, “We only measured this behaviour in year 10 [pupils aged 14 and 15], but this is likely to be a reliable snapshot of participants’ usual behaviour, so we can reasonably suggest that screen time may be damaging to a teenager’s grades.”
However, the results are not yet conclusive, as Corder stated, “Further research is needed to confirm this effect conclusively, but parents who are concerned about their child’s GCSE grades might consider limiting his or her screen time.”
Conversely, if you want your results to improve, you would be better off spending time reading for pleasure and doing homework. While it doesn’t come as much of a surprise to hear that studying improves your grades – the improvements for just one hour of extra study per day were surprising.
The research found that an extra hour of homework or reading improved results by an average of 23.1 GCSE points.
It would perhaps be unrealistic to suggest that students stay away from watching TV or playing computer games while they are studying, and with more research needed it might be worth taking this study with caution.
However, perhaps it is not such a surprise to find that turning off the TV and picking up a book for an extra hour a day may improve your results. Maybe a balancing act is required to maximise your results without completely removing screen-time?
What do you think?
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