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Children at risk of becoming 'screen addicted,' researcher warns

kids watching TV

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New British research suggests that youngsters are at risk of "screen addiction" because of the time they spend watching TV and playing computer games.

A study has shown that in the UK, 10- and 11-year-olds have access to five screens in the average house and the average screen time for British adolescents is 6.1 hours per day and rising.

Researcher Aric Sigman told Sky News that he believes a generation of children is now at risk from becoming "screen addicted."

He said, "We've always thought that it's only substances that affect the chemicals in our brains.

"We now know that experiences -- whether it's gambling or playing computer games, looking at screens -- also produce similar brain chemical changes, particularly a chemical called dopamine. It's a reward chemical, it makes you feel good when you do something you like.

"If children are producing this day after day, for many hours per week, during the important developmental years for their brain, this would have consequences later on, leaving some children unable not to look at screens for much of the day."

Some countries recommend a limit of two hours per day of "recreational" screen exposure for children over seven years old.

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