Parents this is BIG! This study just came out from the Journal of American Medical Association of Pediatrics, and is "the FIRST to provide evidence of a directional association between screen time and poor performance on development screening tests among very young children."
They took 2,441 children and followed them from the womb to 5 years old (2011-2016). Mothers reported on the amount of screen time their children got per weekday and weekend day and on what kind of device.
When the children were 24, 36, and 60 months, mothers completed the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (you've probably filled one out at milestone checkups answering how many words your child can say and if they can stack blocks, etc.)
Researchers found "higher levels of screen time at 24 months and 36 months were significantly associated with poorer performance on developmental screening tests at 36 months and 60 months, respectively."
And WOW, they took into account maternal race, marital status, maternal educational level, maternal depression, household income, gender, physical activity, hours of sleep, and whether they looked at books with the child.
And do you know that the average amount of screen time was at 24 months? 17 hours per week (2.4 hours per day).
At 36 months? 25 hours per week (3.5 hours per day). You guys that's scary to me because it's easily doable for many kids/families. It's not like the kids are neglected and zoning out all day. That's an hour of TV in the morning, 45 minutes while you walk through Target, and another 45 while you're fixing dinner!
The research is becoming clearer every day. Young kids need to develop their brains through connections with caregivers - talking, singing, reading, playing. Screen time limits MUST be set.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends only 1 hour per day for children age 2-5 of high quality programming (e.g. not YouTube videos), and extremely limited for under 2.
Yes, it's easier to give littles screens. Yes, it lets you do what you need to do. But, what are we sacrificing for that convenience?
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