Children pick up screen habits as early as infants

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Children and also teenagers getting addicted to screens of mobile or computer is a constant worry for the parents. They pick up this habit as early as infants, if a recent study is an indication.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends avoiding digital media exposure for children under 18 months of age and give them screen media slowly from 18 to 24 months of age, limiting screen time to an hour a day for children from 2 to 5 years of age.

However, the recent study has found that that 87% of the children had screen time exceeding these recommendations, worrying the parents. That worry is common, cutting across geographies and cultures these days.

Children’s average daily time spent watching television or using a computer or mobile device increased from 53 minutes at age 12 months to more than 150 minutes at 3 years, according to an analysis by researchers at the National Institutes of Health, the University at Albany and the New York University Langone Medical Center.

By age 8, children were more likely to log the highest amount of screen time if they had been in home-based childcare or were born to first-time mothers.

“Our results indicate that screen habits begin early,” said Edwina Yeung, Ph.D., the study’s senior author and an investigator in the Epidemiology Branch of NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). “This finding suggests that interventions to reduce screen time could have a better chance of success if introduced early.”

Mothers of nearly 4,000 children who took part in the study responded to questions on their kids’ media habits when they were 12, 18, 24, 30, and 36 months of age.

However, while screen time increased throughout toddlerhood, by age 7 and 8, screen time fell to under 1.5 hours per day. The researchers believe this decrease relates to time consumed by school-related activities.

Compared to children in center-based care, children in home-based care, whether provided by a parent, babysitter or relative, were more than twice as likely to have high screen time.

 

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