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Concept: Television


To mark the centenary of the 1918 influenza pandemic, the broadcasting network BBC have put together a 75-min documentary called ‘Contagion! The BBC Four Pandemic’. Central to the documentary is a nationwide citizen science experiment, during which volunteers in the United Kingdom could download and use a custom mobile phone app called BBC Pandemic, and contribute their movement and contact data for a day. As the ‘maths team’, we were asked to use the data from the app to build and run a model of how a pandemic would spread in the UK. The headline results are presented in the TV programme. Here, we document in detail how the model works, and how we shaped it according the incredibly rich data coming from the BBC Pandemic app. We have barely scratched the depth of the volunteer data available from the app. The work presented in this article had the sole purpose of generating a single detailed simulation of a pandemic influenza-like outbreak in the UK. When the BBC Pandemic app has completed its collection period, the vast dataset will be made available to the scientific community (expected early 2019). It will take much more time and input from a broad range of researchers to fully exploit all that this dataset has to offer. But here at least we were able to harness some of the power of the BBC Pandemic data to contribute something which we hope will capture the interest and engagement of a broad audience.

Concepts: Influenza, Science, United Kingdom, BBC World Service, Radio, 1918 flu pandemic, Television, BBC


BACKGROUND: Screen entertainment for young children has been associated with several aspects of psychosocial adjustment. Most research is from North America and focuses on television. Few longitudinal studies have compared the effects of TV and electronic games, or have investigated gender differences. PURPOSE: To explore how time watching TV and playing electronic games at age 5 years each predicts change in psychosocial adjustment in a representative sample of 7 year-olds from the UK. METHODS: Typical daily hours viewing television and playing electronic games at age 5 years were reported by mothers of 11 014 children from the UK Millennium Cohort Study. Conduct problems, emotional symptoms, peer relationship problems, hyperactivity/inattention and prosocial behaviour were reported by mothers using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. Change in adjustment from age 5 years to 7 years was regressed on screen exposures; adjusting for family characteristics and functioning, and child characteristics. RESULTS: Watching TV for 3 h or more at 5 years predicted a 0.13 point increase (95% CI 0.03 to 0.24) in conduct problems by 7 years, compared with watching for under an hour, but playing electronic games was not associated with conduct problems. No associations were found between either type of screen time and emotional symptoms, hyperactivity/inattention, peer relationship problems or prosocial behaviour. There was no evidence of gender differences in the effect of screen time. CONCLUSIONS: TV but not electronic games predicted a small increase in conduct problems. Screen time did not predict other aspects of psychosocial adjustment. Further work is required to establish causal mechanisms.

Concepts: Vacuum tube, Cohort study, Longitudinal study, Research methods, Causality, United Kingdom, Radio, Television


To quantify the occurrence of alcohol content, including alcohol branding, in the popular primetime television UK Reality TV show ‘Geordie Shore’ Series 11.

Concepts: The Real World, Television, Reality television, Television program, Product placement, MTV, A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila, America's Next Top Model


Research suggests an inverse association between parental rules and screen time in pre-adolescents, and that parents' style of communication with their children is related to the children’s time spent watching TV. The aims of this study were to examine associations of parental rules and parental style of communication with children’s screen time and perceived excessive screen time in five European countries.

Concepts: Parent, United Kingdom, The Association, Europe, Radio, Television, Broadcasting


To assess longitudinal associations between screen based media use (television and computer hours, having a TV in the bedroom) and body fatness among UK children.

Concepts: Vacuum tube, Cohort study, Longitudinal study, Cohort, United Kingdom, Radio, Television, BBC


Associations of inadequate sleep with numerous health outcomes among youth necessitate identifying its modifiable determinants. Television (TV) has been associated with sleep curtailment, but little is known about small screens (eg, smartphones), which can be used in bed and emit notifications. Therefore, we examined associations of different screens in sleep environments with sleep duration and perceived insufficient rest or sleep.

Concepts: Environment, Sleep, Television


To examine whether participants who watched an exercise-related segment of The Biggest Loser television program would have different explicit and implicit affective exercise-related attitudes than those of control participants.

Concepts: Television, Reality television, Television network, The Biggest Loser


Children are becoming less likely to have direct contact with nature. This ongoing loss of human interactions with nature, the extinction of experience, is viewed as one of the most fundamental obstacles to addressing global environmental challenges. However, the consequences for biodiversity conservation have been examined very little. Here, we conducted a questionnaire survey of elementary schoolchildren and investigated effects of the frequency of direct (participating in nature-based activities) and vicarious experiences of nature (reading books or watching TV programs about nature and talking about nature with parents or friends) on their affective attitudes (individuals' emotional feelings) toward and willingness to conserve biodiversity. A total of 397 children participated in the surveys in Tokyo. Children’s affective attitudes and willingness to conserve biodiversity were positively associated with the frequency of both direct and vicarious experiences of nature. Path analysis showed that effects of direct and vicarious experiences on children’s willingness to conserve biodiversity were mediated by their affective attitudes. This study demonstrates that children who frequently experience nature are likely to develop greater emotional affinity to and support for protecting biodiversity. We suggest that children should be encouraged to experience nature and be provided with various types of these experiences.

Concepts: Conservation biology, Natural environment, Affect, Emotion, Affective neuroscience, Feeling, Affect display, Television


The goal of this study was to investigate whether exposure to sexual reality television content and Internet pornography (IP) is related to sexual self-presentation on social media. Based on a two-wave panel survey among 1,765 adolescents aged 13-17 years, we found that watching sexual reality television content stimulated adolescents to produce and distribute sexual images of themselves on social media. In turn, sexual self-presentation on social media led adolescents to watch sexual reality television content more frequently. These relationships were similar among boys and girls. No reciprocal relationship between exposure to IP and boys' and girls' sexual self-presentation on social media was found. The results suggest that sexual content in mainstream mass media may predict adolescents' sexually oriented behavior on social media and vice versa. Moreover, adolescents seem to differentiate between types of sexual content (i.e., mainstream versus more explicit sexual content) when incorporating sexual media content in their sexual behavior online.

Concepts: Sexual intercourse, Sociology, Human sexual behavior, Media, Mass media, Television, British Household Panel Survey, Mainstream


BACKGROUND: Semen quality appears to have declined over the past decades but reasons for this decline are unresolved. The concurrent increase in sedentary behaviour may be a contributing factor. The objective of this study was to evaluate the relationship of physical activity and television (TV) watching with sperm parameters in a population of young, healthy men. METHODS: Men aged 18-22 years (n=189) from the Rochester Young Men’s Study (2009-2010) participated in this analysis. Physical activity (h/week of moderate and vigorous exercise) and TV watching (h/week of TV, video or DVD watching) over the past 3 months were assessed via questionnaire. Semen quality was assessed by sperm concentration, motility, morphology and total sperm count. RESULTS: Sperm concentration and total sperm count were directly related to physical activity after multivariable adjustment (p-trend=0.01 and 0.04); men in the highest quartile of moderate-to-vigorous activity (≥15 h/week) had 73% (95% CI 15% to 160%) higher sperm concentration than men in the lowest quartile (<5 h/week). TV watching was inversely associated with sperm concentration and total sperm count in multivariable analyses (p-trend=0.05 and 0.06); men in the highest quartile of TV watching (>20 h/week) had 44% (95% CI 15 to 63%) lower sperm concentration than men in the lowest quartile (0 h/week). These measures of physical and leisure time activities were not significantly associated with sperm motility or morphology. CONCLUSIONS: In this population of healthy men, higher moderate-to-vigorous activity and less TV watching were significantly associated with higher total sperm count and sperm concentration.

Concepts: Sperm, Obesity, Overweight, Semen analysis, Semen, Decline, Leisure, Television