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One a day Live

Children using tech devices as part of daily routine

There have long been fears about the time children spend in front of screens, but new research suggests that youngsters are actually combining new technology with every day life.

It argues that while use of computers, TVs and other devices has risen in recent years, the majority of this extra time is made up while children are doing other things, such as socialising, travelling and studying.

The study, by an academic at Oxford University, is based on diary entries from eight to 18-year-olds, gathered in 2000 and 2015, on how they spend their time.

File image.

It concludes that in 2000, youngsters spent two hours and 59 minutes on screen-based activities - this would be largely made up of TV, computer and videogame use.

In 2015, this had risen to four hours and 45 minutes, the study found.

But it goes on to say that out of the extra hour and 46 minutes, around 30 minutes was due to screen-based activities - children using TV, computer and videogames as their main focus.

The other hour and 16 minutes is due to children using devices while taking part in a range of other activities, such as at school, socialising, travelling, studying, eating and playing sports, it suggests.

Study author Dr Killian Mullan, senior research associate at Oxford’s Centre for Time Use Research, said: "’Our findings show that technology is being used with and in some cases perhaps to support other activities, like homework for instance, and not pushing them out.

"Just like we adults do, children spread their digital tech use throughout the day, while doing other things."

He added: "People think that children are addicted to technology and in front of these screens 24/7, to the exclusion of other activities - and we now know that is not the case. The bigger point is that, as for adults, children are incorporating technology into daily life.

"They are taking the tech with them and they are doing all the things that they would do anyway - but now with devices.

On paper, the total time children spend using digital devices sounds huge. But, when you break it down, the picture that emerges shows how children have embedded tech in their daily activities - just like we have.’