138. How Much is too Much? Screen Time Among Young Adolescents in Switzerland


      The literature indicates that adolescents should spend less than two hours a day in front of a screen, although more recent research indicates that up to 4 hours would be acceptable and recommends an update of this limit regarding the generalized access to screens. The aim of this research was to compare the characteristics of adolescents depending on self-reported daily screen time.


      Data were collected in school among tenth graders (N=3006; mean age 13.6) between October 2019 and February 2020. Three groups were created according to self-reported daily screen time: under 2 hours (G<2), between 2 and 4 hours (G2-4), and over 4 hours (G>4). Groups were compared at the bivariate level and all significant variables (p<.05) were entered in a backwards multinomial logistic regression using G<2 as the reference category. Results are presented as relative risk ratios (RRR).


      Although significant in the bivariate analysis, considering oneself a below average student, relationship with mother, self-reported low socioeconomic status, relationship with father, and living with both parents were subsequently eliminated in the stepwise regression process. At the multivariate level, and compared to G<2, those in G2-4 were older (RRR: 1.20), and more likely to report lower emotional well-being (RRR: 1.40), being overweight (RRR: 2.05), to consider their screen time as excessive (RRR: 4.80) and reporting sleeping troubles (RRR: 1.46). No differences were found for gender, problematic internet use, or extracurricular sport practice. Compared to G<2, those in G>4 were older (RRR: 1.87) and more likely to be males (RRR: 1.48), overweight (RRR: 4.23), problematic internet users (RRR: 3.50), to consider that their screen time as excessive (RRR: 12.94) and reporting sleeping troubles (RRR: 1.97). They were also less likely to practice extracurricular sport (RRR: .57). No differences were found for emotional well being.


      Our results indicate that young adolescents tend to do less well as screen time increases, especially males. Nevertheless, this effect seems to be independent of their familiar, academic or economic situation. It is worth noting that they are well aware that their screen time is excessive. This finding could imply that self-content might be a better approach than just limiting time. Prevention strategies should probably be less strict on the 2-hour limit and take advantage of the self-assessment of young adolescents regarding their screen time. Such strategies should also be gender-specific. Moreover, prevention should be more focused on content that merely on duration.

      Sources of Support

      Direction Générale de la Santé du Canton de Vaud.