More Screen Time for Young Kids Now, Poorer Development Later?

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"These results add important weight to existing concerns that too much screen time can prevent young children from having the best start in life, by potentially reducing important opportunities for social interactions, physical activity and other experiences necessary for development", said Dr. Bernadka Dubicka from the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

"We're seeing that screen time is creating some disparities in children's development over time", says lead author Dr. Sheri Madigan, assistant professor in the department of psychology at the University of Calgary.

Talking with your children about screen time is constructive, said Madigan adding parents have to be aware and accountable for their own hours spent on phones and tablets.

The research, conducted in part by University of Calgary assistant professor of psychology Sheri Madigan, looked at the electronic-device habits of nearly 2,500 women and their children, who were aged 2 to 5. The policy statement recommends no more than 1 hour of screen time per day for children from the ages of 2 to 5.

M - A study has found that kids 2-5 years old who engage in more screen time received worse scores in developmental screening tests.

Published this week in the pediatric journal of the American Medical Association, researchers looked at the screen time habits of a group of 2 year-old-children and their development.

These tests included measures of their communication skills (for instance, forming full sentences), gross motor skills (running and walking), fine motor skills (tying shoelaces or copying letters), as well as problem-solving, and personal and social skills (serving themselves food).

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We used a longitudinal design to understand whether higher levels of screen time predict how kids are doing, or whether kids who struggle get put in front of screens more to help manage their challenging behaviours.

Starting as toddlers, many kids now spend part of every day staring at a screen instead of being physically active or interacting with others. They urge health professionals and families to develop a "personalized media plans" to develop boundaries over screen time for children.

A separate report released in 2017 by the nonprofit organization Common Sense Media found that children 8 and younger spend an average of two hours and 19 minutes a day with screen media.

Because we only looked at total number of hours on screens, we don't know which apps, games or websites children are using.

The new study provides insight into how technology impacts individual young people over time, "but increases in screen time observed here indicate between about 0.36% 0.64% of the variability in decreases in the developmental outcome".

Although previous research demonstrated a link between screen time and poor academic performance, new research confirms long-term adverse effects. Meanwhile they suggest that families need to be conscious about the time their children are spending with digital media and warn the excessive use may become problematic.

While allowing energetic or unruly children to watch videos or play with electronic devices may calm them down, too much screen time can impact their mental development. What they found, unequivocally, is that it's the excess screen time that causes the delays.