A new study linked screen time among children at age 1 with delays in certain developmental domains at ages 2 and 4.
In a study published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics journal, researchers sought to demonstrate a link between the “doses” of screen time that infants consumed at age 1 and their scores in five developmental domains at ages 2 and 4: communication, gross motor, fine motor, problem-solving, and personal and social skills.
Based on an analysis of self-reported data from 7,097 mother-child pairs, researchers found that there appears to be a correlation between screen time of more than 1 hour at age 1 and developmental delays in communication, fine motor, problem-solving, and personal and social skills at age 2. At age 4, they found the correlation remained only for developmental delays in communication and in problem-solving skills, but the likelihood of these delays still decreased for these two categories.
At age 2, the association is most prominent when looking at the likelihood of children at age 1 whose mothers reported four or more hours of screen time, compared to children whose mothers reported less than one hour of screen time: developmental delays are 4.78 times more likely in communication skills, 1.46 times more likely in gross motor skills, 1.74 times more likely in fine motor skills, 2.67 times more likely in problem-solving skills, and 2.1 times more likely in personal and social skills.
At age 4, the association remains only in communication and problem-solving skills. For children whose mothers reported four or more hours of screen time at age 1, compared with children whose mothers reported less than one hour of screen time at age 1, developmental delays in communication skills at age 4 was 2.68 times more likely and 1.91 times more likely in problem-solving skills.
The data analysis was based on self-reported surveys collected in a study of 7,097 mother-child pairs. They were originally recruited into the study between July 2013 and March 2017, from 50 obstetric clinics and hospitals from Miyagi and Iwate prefectures in Japan. The study was conducted under the Tohoku Medical Megabank Project Birth and Three-Generation Cohort Study and used data based on the Japanese version of the Ages & Stages Questionnaires, Third Edition.
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