Jan 9, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Latino children log more excess screen time, study finds

A remote learning platform used in Miami during 2020. Photo: Jayme Gershen/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A remote learning platform used in Miami during 2020. Photo: Jayme Gershen/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Children of color spent more extra time in front of a screen than their white peers during the first year of the pandemic, according to a study published in JAMA Pediatrics.

Why it matters: More screen time has been associated with weight gain, “greater exposure to food advertising” and binge eating, as well as increased stress, per the study.

  • Those factors could worsen health outcomes for children of color, who already face systemic health barriers such as lower insurance rates, higher obesity rates and less access to preventive medicine.

What they found: Non-educational screen time doubled for teenagers from an average of 3.8 daily hours before the pandemic to 7.7 hours daily, per the study.

  • That daily average was considerably higher for Black (10 hours) and Hispanic (8.7 hours) kids.
  • The study’s authors suggest that’s due to a “lack of financial resources to do other kinds of activities or lack of access to safe outdoor spaces.”
  • Asian and white non-Hispanic kids had an average of 6.8 hours.
  • Most of that screen time was spent on streaming, video games and web browsing.

Don’t forget: While the non-educational screen time rose for the groups, many Black and Latino children also suffered educational setbacks from a lack of connectivity to the internet and not having access to computers and tablets for online classes during the pandemic.

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