It is well-known that constant exposure to screens is negatively associated with mental health, could lead to an increase in stress and anxiety, and cause various sleep issues in children and adults. Today, screen exposure starts early with young toddlers using tablets and phones. A new study has found that this could lead to developmental delays in communication and problem-solving.
Screen time is the amount of time that is spent watching television, playing video games, and using mobile phones, tablets, and other devices, according to a new study published in JAMA Pediatrics. The World Health Organisation recommends that screen time should be limited to one hour every day for children aged between two to five years to ensure they engage in play and get adequate sleep. However, in recent times with increased accessibility to electronic devices, screen exposure has increased significantly, which is a cause of concern.
The new study found that one-year-old infants who were exposed to screen for a longer time had a higher risk of developmental delays in communication and problem-solving at ages two and four. Two-year-olds who had spent four or more hours every day with screens were two times more likely to experience developmental delays in communication and problem-solving skills, according to Healthline. Toddlers who spent more than four or more hours in front of a screen were five times more likely to have communication delays and almost three times more likely to have problem-solving delays.
Furthermore, those who spent four or more hours of screen time every day showed delays in fine motor skills and personal and social skills. "The study fills an important gap because it identifies specific developmental delays (in skills) such as communication and problem-solving associated with screen time," says Jason Nagata, associate professor of paediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, who wasn't involved in the study tells Healthline.
A 2018 study by researchers from San Diego State University indicated that more hours of screen time are linked to lower well-being in those aged 2 to 17. The researchers said that just one hour of daily screen time could negatively affect children and teens. They may start showing less curiosity, lower self-control, less emotional stability and a greater inability to finish tasks, according to Science Daily.