Background: Advancements in screen media devices has transformed the way families engage with screen media. Although these modern devices offer many opportunities, e.g. communication and research online, an in-depth understanding of how these devices affect our health, is lacking. Before a definite randomized controlled trial, the SCREENS pilot study was conducted to assess compliance to and feasibility of two interventions, a measurement protocol, and a survey-based recruitment strategy. Also, the potential of the interventions to impact leisure time spent non-sedentary in children six-to-ten years of age was explored.
Methods: Families (N = 12) were recruited through a population-based survey sent out in October of 2018 to adults (N = 1,675) in the Municipality of Middelfart, Denmark. Families were randomized to one of two two-week interventions; an Evening Restriction intervention (no screen media use after six pm) and a General Restrict intervention (limit entertainment-based screen media to three hours/week/person). Intervention compliance was assessed objectively by measuring household TV usage, smartphone and tablet activity via an application, and via screen media diaries. During baseline and follow-up, as part of larger protocol, family members wore two triaxial accelerometers for seven consecutive days. The potential of the interventions to impact non-sedentary time was explored based on means and standard errors (SEs).
Results: Despite almost 85% and 75% reductions in leisure screen media use 0% and 50% of families were compliant in the Evening Restrict group and General Restrict group, respectively, based on strict a priori criteria. Participant feedback indicated that the General Restrict intervention generally was feasibly. Compliance to the accelerometry wear protocol was high (median non-wear was <1 hour/week). Moreover, the recruitment strategy was implemented and was feasible. The General restrict intervention might increase children's non-sedentary time (mean (SE): 36.6 (23) min/day, N = 6).
Conclusions: The General Restriction intervention, the accelerometer wear protocol and recruitment strategy, appeared feasible.
Trial registration: NCT03788525 at https://clinicaltrials.gov [Retrospectively registered; 27th of December, 2018].