Abstract. Children’s online presence is increasing rapidly: both as
proportion of children using the Internet and as the amount of time spent by
the average child online. Yet, time spent on games or social networks does
not have to translate into crucial skills of the Internet age, such as locating
reliable information online. In fact, children tend to overestimate their
online reading skills because they extrapolate their gaming or social media
skills into online reading. The paper analyses the impact of four types of
screen activity on reading achievement among four graders in six countries.
For two activities – playing computer games and surfing the Internet – the
relationship between screen time and reading achievement has shown
consistent pattern that held across countries: a right-skewed inversed Ushape with moderate use having a mildly positive effect when compared to
both no-use and heavy use. By contrast, online chatting and watching videos
showed negative and more linear relationship to online reading scores. A
common denominator of all online activities is that more than two hours
daily of screen time had an adverse effect for school performance when
compared to moderate use.
Keywords: Internet use, online gaming, watching videos, educational
achievement, ePIRLS

Anna Gromada
The UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti, Florence, Italy and Polish
Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland, e-mail:
ORCID ID: 0000-0001-8135-1424

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