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Multi-screen viewing lifestyle is killing kids

Research conducted by the University of Bristol suggests that kids could be damaging their health by living a multi-screen lifestyle.

We've known for decades that sitting in front of the TV for hours on end is likely to breed a generation of fat, slovenly, sickly adults, but the current generation of youngsters seems to spend its entire life glued to one screen or another.

Where a few years ago kids might have spent at least some of their time looking out of a window or making a cup of tea during the tampon adverts, today's generation simply substitutes the glowing idiot box in the corner of the living room with the phone in their pocket, or the PC or games console in their bedrooms.

A new study - entitled in a down-wiv-da-kidz attempt at street cred: 'I'm on it 24/7 at the moment' - found that topping up TV with multi-screen viewing could be linked to obesity, poor mental well-being and health problems in later life.

Dr Russ Jago, from Bristol University's Centre for Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences, reckons: "There is a shortage of information about the nature of contemporary screen viewing amongst children, especially given the rapid advances in screen-viewing equipment technology and their widespread availability."

Is it just me or have we heard this somewhere before? I can remember my mum telling me more years ago than I'm willing to admit that, if I didn't go outside and get a bit of fresh air I'd end up making myself ill. That, or I'd end up with square eyes.

My mum didn't need a Phd to know that staring at a screen for hours on end couldn't possibly do me any good. Why staring at four or five different screens of varying sizes would make any difference is beyond me.

Especially as I spend the majority of my life staring at four screens for a living and the rest of it plotted in front of the TV.

Right. I'm off to kick a ball around in the garden... but I'll take my iPhone just in case.

The study concludes, in its best Mr Mackey from South Park voice, that multi-screen viewing is bad, and parents need to develop strategies to stop them spending all of their time immersed in TV, instant messaging, Facebook, video games, Youtube and the Internet - which are all bad.