Children spend an average of 4 hours and 42 minutes a day watching TV and using a computer during weekends and holidays, which is more than twice as long as on an average weekday, the Department of Health (DOH) said yesterday.
According to a national health survey conducted in 2009, children aged between six and 11 spend an average of 2 hours and 6 minutes every day watching TV and using computers during weekdays, but spend more time on weekends and holidays, which may cause a deterioration of eyesight, the department’s Bureau of Health Promotion said.
Based on the results of a health survey among junior high-school students in 2010, the bureau said 39.3 percent of junior high-students spend more than two hours a day watching TV, using a computer or playing video games, at least three days a week. These figures indicate a 3.8 percent increase compared with the results from 2008.
The same survey conducted last year among senior high-school students showed that 49.9 percent of those interviewed spend more than two hours a day, at least three days per week, on those activities.
It is likely that children and teenagers spend more time staring at TV or computer screens during weekends and holidays because they do not have to attend gym classes or participate in physical activities, the bureau said, adding that watching TV or using a computer not only results in a deterioration of eyesight but also increases the chances of becoming obese.
The bureau said the WHO has suggested that children and teenagers should spend at least 60 minutes a day on moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity, and children above two years old should not stare at TV or computer screens for more than 2 hours a day. Parents are advised to encourage their young children to take part in physical activities to maintain a healthy body.