Share on PinterestChildren who have too much screen time at age 2 can have learning delays by age 3, researchers say.
"Excessive screen time can impinge on children's ability to develop optimally", the study said.
6 simple ways to get a handle on your kids' screen timeThe study simultaneously assessed child development at ages two, three and five by asking caregivers to complete the Ages and Stages questionnaire, which is a screening measure for a variety of different developmental outcomes. "When children are in front of screens, the important parent-child interactions aren't happening". The children averaged 17.09 hours, 24.99 hours, 10.85 hours per week at two, three and five years of age, respectively.
The study reviewed the viewing habits of children between the ages of two and five over the period of five years.
A new Canadian study has linked increased screen time with delayed development in children, adding new fuel to the debate over how long is too long for kids to spend in front of their electronic devices.
That strongly supports expert guidelines that recommend limiting screen time for young children, when the brain is rapidly developing new connections and learning from every cue it receives.
For the study, published in JAMA Pediatrics, researchers surveyed 2,441 mothers in Canada about how much time their kids spent on typical weekdays and weekends watching television, movies or videos; playing video games; or using computers, tablets or other devices like smartphones. As a result, those children with poor language, coordination, as well as communication, problem-solving and social skills spent a lot of time in the front of a screen. "We are getting at these lasting effects". For instance, young children may be missing opportunities to practise walking or to interact with their caregivers.
"Screen time should at least be an educational experience, not just a shiny distraction", Dimitriu said.
While the study's findings suggest excess screen time can be detrimental for children's development, "what's the tipping point?" And research shows that 98 per cent of children are now living in a home with an internet-connected device, with kids spending a considerable amount of their time online.
Because we only looked at total number of hours on screens, we don't know which apps, games or websites children are using.
"In fact the data shows that the association with screen time is weaker than that between developmental outcomes and good sleep, reading to the child, and maternal positivity", he said. "We're living in busy modern times, and our attention is often pulled in numerous directions, resulting in less time for parenting", Dimitriu said.
More than 2,400 children were included in the analysis. They recommend implementing a family media plan.
Although previous research demonstrated a link between screen time and poor academic performance, new research confirms long-term adverse effects.
There was no evidence children with developmental problems were allowed more screen time by their parents to control challenging behaviour. "In other studies, we've found that when parents put limits on the amount and content of children's screen media, it is a powerful protective factor for a wide range of children's health and wellness indicators".