Is it possible for a child to be negatively affected by being babysat and watching TV?
A recent study suggests that toddlers’ attention to screens pertaining to televisions, computers, tablets, and smartphones may impact their development.
The delay in communication, fine-motor skills, problem-solving, and personal and social skills may be linked to these delays, as per the study published in JAMA Pediatrics.
According to Dr. Jason Nagata, an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, children may not develop interactive problem-solving skills due to passive screen time, such as watching television or videos in a mindless state, as reported by MedPage Today.
Nagata, who was not part of the study, noted that Screenens can interfere with or obstruct interactions with caregivers and hinder verbal communication and social skills.
Children may not be able to use the screen because it lacks an interactive or physical aspect, leading to sedentary behavior.
From July 2013 to March 2017, the study involved more than 7,000 Japanese children. The researchers measured how many hours children spent using screens at age 1, as well as their mothers’ reports. They also examined how toddlers performed in various developmental tests at ages 2 and 4.
According to an expert, children may not be able to practice problem-solving due to passive screen time, such as watching TV or watching videos incessantly.
The study found that children who had spent four hours a day watching TV were three times more likely to have developmental delays in communication and problem-solving skills by the age of 2.
The use of screens during prolonged periods in children was linked to decreased communication skills, underdeveloped personal and social skills (price matched by lack of motor skills), and substandard performance.
Researchers found that by age 4, they still noticed problems with communication and problem-solving.
Furthermore, the research discovered that mothers who had a higher amount of screen time were younger and more likely to be first-time mothers, with lower incomes and education levels, as well as an increased likelihood of experiencing postpartum depression.
According to an expert, children now have more screen time options than they did in 2013.
Experts were prompt to warn that the study has several limitations, one of which is that mothers reported more screen time than expected and that it was not categorized by type, such as educational or entertainment.
According to Nagata, there is a difference in screen time. For instance, watching educational programs or video chats with family is not the same as passively watching television or fast-paced TikTok videos.
Nagata noted that the collection of screen time data began in 2013 and that there may be new technologies, devices, and apps available for children in 2023.
The study does not provide evidence that developmental delays are linked to more screen time.
According to Dr. Taku Obara from Tohoku University in Japan, the findings are not a cause-and-effect relationship, and clinicians and parents should not limit children’s screen time based on their findings.