Screen time



Screen time

What is it?

Screen Time is based on the percent of students in Grades 7 and 8 that get more than 2 hours of screen time per day outside of school. Screen time includes time spend sitting or lying down while using the television, computer, video games or hand-held electronic device. The Canadian Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines recommend that students in Grades 7 and 8 get no more than 2 hours of screen time per day.

Why is it important?

Limiting sedentary activities has a positive impact on a child's physical, social and emotional health and well-being. Limiting screen time in particular may improve physical fitness and increase academic performance, social behaviours and self-esteem. Reducing sedentary activities, such as screen time, is also associated with increasing physical activity and reducing obesity in children.

What does it mean?

In Toronto, most students exceed the maximum recommended amount of screen time. Approximately 62% of grades 7 and 8 students reported getting more than 2 hours of screen time per day. Figure 1 shows that the percent of middle school students who get more than 2 hours of screen time per day is higher for students in single parent families (71%) than for two parent families (60%). Figure 2 shows that there is no significant difference in screen time by gender. Male and female students were equally as likely to get more than 2 hours of screen time per day.

62%

of students get more
than 2 hours of
screen time per day.

Data Notes
Information about screen time was measured by self-report. Students were asked "For each of the past 7 days, mark how many hours (outside of school) you spent sitting or lying down looking at a screen. Think about the time spent watching TV and movies, playing video games, video chatting, text messaging, or surfing internet sites like Twitter or YouTube, for example" The response options were: None; Less than 1 hour a day; 1 to 2 hours a day; More than 2 hours but less than 5 hours a day; 5 or more hours a day.

Calculation
Numerator – Number of students who get more than 2 hours of screen time per day
Denominator – Number of students who were surveyed

Graphic 1
Sources: Numerator & Denominator - Toronto Public Health. Student Survey Questionnaire. 2014.

Figure 1
Sources: Numerator & Denominator - Toronto Public Health. Student Survey Questionnaire. 2014.

  • Family structure was measured using self-report.
  • Children who described their family structure as 'Other' were excluded from this analysis.
  • Significant differences were estimated using overlapping 95% confidence intervals estimated using the Normal distribution. Although this method is conservative and most appropriate when comparing mutually exclusive groups, it was chosen as an objective means of making conclusions on population-based data.
Figure 2
Source: Numerator & Denominator - Toronto Public Health. Student Survey Questionnaire. 2014.

  • Significant differences were estimated using overlapping 95% confidence intervals estimated using the Normal distribution. Although this method is conservative and most appropriate when comparing mutually exclusive groups, it was chosen as an objective means of making conclusions on population-based data.