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OnMedica – News – Plan the time of children on the screen and manage it, advise American experts



Targeted relationship between excessive screen time and lower rates in development tests

Louise Prime

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Excessive viewing time may affect children's ability to develop optimally, so pediatricians and practitioners should direct parents to appropriate levels of screen exposure and discuss the potential consequences of excessive screen use, say researchers behind the new study * published in JAMA PediatricsThe study design meant that it could eliminate feedback, since children with lower levels of development are simply allowed to conduct longer examinations.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) said in the fall of 2016: “When the media [sic] With proper and proper use of the media can improve everyday life. But when used inappropriately or without thinking, the media can supplant many important activities, such as face-to-face communication, family time, outdoor games, exercise, disconnection from the network, and just sleeping. ” AAP recommended ** that parents and guardians develop a Family Media Plan that takes into account the health, education, and entertainment needs of each child, as well as the entire family.

The research team stated that, although excessive screen time is associated with developmental delays, it is not clear whether more screen time is predicting lower productivity in screening development tests, or if children with low developmental efficiency get extra screen time as a way to modulate defiant behavior. They developed a longitudinal cohort study to assess the directional relationship between the increased screening time and the performance of screening tests of child development.

The study involved 2441 mothers and children (slightly less than half of them boys) in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. When children were 24, 36 and 60 months old, children's behavior on the screen (total hours per week) and developmental results (questionnaire by age and stage, third edition) were assessed using the maternal report.

An analysis conducted by the researchers showed that higher levels of children's screen time at 24 and 36 months were largely associated with worse rates of screening development tests at 36 months and 60 months. They commented: "Feedback (that is, poor developmental performance and increased screen time) was not observed."

The authors of the study noted that its longitudinal design, although necessary when considering the orientation of associations, is also a disadvantage when technology develops rapidly and is ahead of research; and, according to them, another limitation was to consider the total “screen time”, rather than the time spent on different types of media content.

They noted that in the United States, despite the fact that educational programs and programs continue to evolve, there have been no improvements in student performance over the past decade, which corresponds to the period in which technology usage and viewing time have increased rapidly. They concluded: “As far as we know, the present study is the first to provide evidence of a directional relationship between screening time and poor academic performance in developmental screening tests for very young children. As the use of technology is rooted in modern life, understanding the directional relationship between screen time and its correlates and taking family measures to positively interact with technology can be fundamental to ensuring success in the development of children growing up in the digital age. ”

They recommended encouraging family media plans as well as managing screen time to offset the potential consequences of overuse.


* Madigan S, Browne D, Racine N, et al. The relationship between screen time and children's progress in the development test. JAMA Pediatr. Published online January 28, 2019. Doi: 10.1001 / jamapediatrics.2018.5056.

** AAP recommendations include the following:

  • For children under 18 months, avoid using screen carriers other than video chat. Parents of children aged 18 to 24 months who want to introduce digital media should choose high-quality programs and watch them with their children to help them understand what they see.
  • For children aged 2-5, limit screen usage to one hour per day of high-quality programs. Parents should jointly watch the media with their children to help them understand what they see and apply them to the world around them.
  • For children aged six years and older, set permanent limits on time spent using carriers and media types, and ensure that carriers do not replace adequate sleep, physical activity, and other behaviors necessary for health.
  • Designate media-free time, such as lunch or driving, as well as places for a free home, such as bedrooms.
  • Constantly communicate online citizenship and security issues, including treating others with respect on the Internet and offline.

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