Excessive Screen Time for Kids Can Cause Developmental Delays by Kindergarten

Pearl Mccarthy
February 1, 2019

"We found that, on average, children are viewing screens somewhere between two and three hours per day", Madigan said.

In an e-mail, Dr. Max Davie, officer for health promotion for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health in Britain, said the latest study shows only "a weak association between screen time and developmental outcomes".

Overall, mothers reported their children spent a mean 2.4 hours a day on screens at age 24 months, 3.6 hours a day at 36 months, and 1.6 hours a day at 60 months, they reported. These amounts exceed the Canadian Pediatrics Society's recommended pediatric guideline which states that children aged two to five spend no more than one hour per day with high-quality programming, geared towards learning and development.

Researchers from the University of Waterloo, University of Calgary and Alberta Children's Hospital Research Institute said toddlers who spent more time watching a screen at 2 years old did worse on developmental markers than those who spent less time watching a screen. Research and surveys have revealed that 98 percent of the children are living in homes that have one or more internet connected deice and are spending a substantial amount of time online or in front of screens of mobile phones, tablets or laptops.

"It looks at communication skills, fine and gross motor skills, problem solving, and the social and emotional skills". Lastly, the authors noted that it is possible that since the study was conducted, technology has evolved, causing media consumption to change and have different effects on youth. "When a child is watching a screen, he or she is missing out on the opportunity for walking, talking and interacting with others".

The authors urged health professionals to work with families to develop "personalised media plans" created to place boundaries on children's screen time.

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CVS said 90% of participants reported a "health benefit" but did not elaborate on whether they saw improved health outcomes. About CVS Health CVS Health is the nation's premier health innovation company helping people on their path to better health.

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

Kalady said it's helpful to set up limits and expectations early, because it's easier to start off with healthy screen time habits than it is to scale back once you've already begun. "We're living in busy modern times, and our attention is often pulled in numerous directions, resulting in less time for parenting", Dimitriu said.

Or were delayed children, who perhaps had more challenging behaviours, being plunked in front of screens more often to help them (and their parents) cope?

Although previous research demonstrated a link between screen time and poor academic performance, new research confirms long-term adverse effects. Furthermore, it did not show which areas of development in particular were most affected by screen time or give an idea of how much was too much when it came to using devices.

The study also showed an association between excessive screen time and negative physical, behavioral and cognitive outcomes for the children tested. They recommend implementing a family media plan. Critics claim the study doesn't take into consideration what the children were using the screens for or other factors such as sleep pattern or family income.

Reduce children's screen time by encouraging activities such as reading, physical play, arts, and crafts.

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