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      Association Between Screen Time and Children’s Performance on a Developmental Screening Test

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          Abstract

          Is increased screen time associated with poor performance on children’s developmental screening tests? In this cohort study of early childhood development in 2441 mothers and children, higher levels of screen time in children aged 24 and 36 months were associated with poor performance on a screening measure assessing children’s achievement of development milestones at 36 and 60 months, respectively. The obverse association (ie, poor developmental performance to increased screen time) was not observed. Excessive screen time can impinge on children’s ability to develop optimally; it is recommended that pediatricians and health care practitioners guide parents on appropriate amounts of screen exposure and discuss potential consequences of excessive screen use. Excessive screen time is associated with delays in development; however, it is unclear if greater screen time predicts lower performance scores on developmental screening tests or if children with poor developmental performance receive added screen time as a way to modulate challenging behavior. To assess the directional association between screen time and child development in a population of mothers and children. This longitudinal cohort study used a 3-wave, cross-lagged panel model in 2441 mothers and children in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, drawn from the All Our Families study. Data were available when children were aged 24, 36, and 60 months. Data were collected between October 20, 2011, and October 6, 2016. Statistical analyses were conducted from July 31 to November 15, 2018. Media. At age 24, 36, and 60 months, children’s screen-time behavior (total hours per week) and developmental outcomes (Ages and Stages Questionnaire, Third Edition) were assessed via maternal report. Of the 2441 children included in the analysis, 1227 (50.2%) were boys. A random-intercepts, cross-lagged panel model revealed that higher levels of screen time at 24 and 36 months were significantly associated with poorer performance on developmental screening tests at 36 months (β, −0.06; 95% CI, −0.10 to −0.01) and 60 months (β, −0.08; 95% CI, −0.13 to −0.02), respectively. These within-person (time-varying) associations statistically controlled for between-person (stable) differences. The results of this study support the directional association between screen time and child development. Recommendations include encouraging family media plans, as well as managing screen time, to offset the potential consequences of excess use. This longitudinal cohort study examines children’s performance on developmental tests at ages 24, 36, and 60 months and the amount of screen time exposure at those points.

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          Most cited references22

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          Association between child and adolescent television viewing and adult health: a longitudinal birth cohort study.

          Watching television in childhood and adolescence has been linked to adverse health indicators including obesity, poor fitness, smoking, and raised cholesterol. However, there have been no longitudinal studies of childhood viewing and adult health. We explored these associations in a birth cohort followed up to age 26 years. We assessed approximately 1000 unselected individuals born in Dunedin, New Zealand, in 1972-73 at regular intervals up to age 26 years. We used regression analysis to investigate the associations between earlier television viewing and body-mass index, cardiorespiratory fitness (maximum aerobic power assessed by a submaximal cycling test), serum cholesterol, smoking status, and blood pressure at age 26 years. Average weeknight viewing between ages 5 and 15 years was associated with higher body-mass indices (p=0.0013), lower cardiorespiratory fitness (p=0.0003), increased cigarette smoking (p<0.0001), and raised serum cholesterol (p=0.0037). Childhood and adolescent viewing had no significant association with blood pressure. These associations persisted after adjustment for potential confounding factors such as childhood socioeconomic status, body-mass index at age 5 years, parental body-mass index, parental smoking, and physical activity at age 15 years. In 26-year-olds, population-attributable fractions indicate that 17% of overweight, 15% of raised serum cholesterol, 17% of smoking, and 15% of poor fitness can be attributed to watching television for more than 2 h a day during childhood and adolescence. Television viewing in childhood and adolescence is associated with overweight, poor fitness, smoking, and raised cholesterol in adulthood. Excessive viewing might have long-lasting adverse effects on health.
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            Associations between media viewing and language development in children under age 2 years.

            To test the association of media exposure with language development in children under age 2 years.
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              Increased Screen Time: Implications for Early Childhood Development and Behavior.

              The authors review trends in adoption of new digital technologies (eg, mobile and interactive media) by families with young children (ages 0-8 years), continued use of television and video games, and the evidence for learning from digital versus hands-on play. The authors also discuss continued concerns about health and developmental/behavioral risks of excessive media use for child cognitive, language, literacy, and social-emotional development. This evidence is then applied to clinical care in terms of the screening questions providers can use, tools available to providers and parents, and changes in anticipatory guidance.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                JAMA Pediatrics
                JAMA Pediatr
                American Medical Association (AMA)
                2168-6203
                January 28 2019
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Psychology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
                [2 ]Department of Paediatrics, Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
                [3 ]Department of Psychology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
                Article
                10.1001/jamapediatrics.2018.5056
                6439882
                30688984
                f0484e44-f4cb-47bf-abf5-adfe908c5f29
                © 2019
                History

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