Home Health Toddler development delayed by too much screentime, research suggests

Toddler development delayed by too much screentime, research suggests

Too much time in front of the TV and playing computer games can hold back toddlers' development, researchers have warned.

A study involving 2,400 Canadian children found more screen time was linked to lower scores in milestone tests of communication, problem solving, interpersonal skills and physical coordination.

The amount of time spent and spent on a screen had a negative effect on their performance at three and five, it found.

There was no evidence that children with developmental problems were allowed.

Writing in the journal Jama Pediatrics, the team of Canadian psychologists said: "The present study examined developmental outcomes during a critical period of growth and maturation, revealing that screen time can impinge on children's ability to develop optimally."

By the time they start school, a quarter of children show some degree of deficient or delayed development in language, communication, motor skills and "socio-emotional health", according to the team, led by Dr. Sheri Madigan from the University of Calgary.

To investigate the link between the time and developmental delays, the scientists using a standard milestone screening measure which involved questioning parents about their children's abilities.

Higher levels of screen time at the ages of two years and years out of time "significantly associated" with poorer test results at three and five years.

Researchers said the findings.

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They pointed out that child development "unfolds rapidly in the first five years of life".

"When young children are observing screens, they are missing important opportunities to practice and master interpersonal, motor and communication skills," the researchers said.

The study found that overall, children watched screens for an average of 17.09 hours per week at age two, 24.99 at age three, and 10.85 at age five.

The authors urged health professionals to work with families to develop personalized media plans.

The plans, adapted for each family's needs, would provide advice on setting and enforcing rules and imposing "screen-free zones" and "device curfews" in the home.

British experts said that research was needed but that parents should be encouraged to promote healthy interactive behavior in their children.

Dr Bernadka Dubicka, from the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: "This is the first step towards the development of children who are associated with slower development. These results are important in the life of young people who have a good time in life, because of important opportunities for social interactions, and what is necessary for development. "

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