More screen time, less attention
time above a two-hour threshold among pre-schoolers is associated with an increased
risk of clinically relevant externalizing problems such as inattention, and significantly
more behaviour problems at five years of age, according to a study published in
the open-access journal PLOS ONE of
the University of Alberta.
Increased screen time in children has been associated with unhealthy dietary patterns, poor sleep quality, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. There has been a significant increase in screen options in recent years, from device choices to streaming content. Children with more than two hours of screen time per day had a 7.7-fold increased risk of meeting criteria for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. The findings indicate that pre-school may be a critical period for educating parents and families about limiting screen time and encouraging physical activity. Interestingly, the more time children spent doing organized sports, the less likely they were to exhibit behavioural problems. Early childhood education must focus on learning through ‘power of play’, according to the study.