Screen abuse harms the development of children from 1 to 3 years old

He use of screens –television, smartphone, tablet, computer…– should be limited during childhood and, in fact, pediatricians recommend that babies under two years of age should not be exposed to them, and that children from two to five years old should not use them anymore. one hour a day, because its use is especially harmful in early childhood. Now, a study in which data from 57,980 boys and girls from one to three years old has been analyzed has revealed that the increased TV or DVD screen time from 12 months of age you have negative effects on their later development.

The research has been carried out by Japanese scientists, who have published their findings in the journal JAMA Pediatrics. In the article, the researchers highlight that there has been “a significant increase in the number of children with mental health and neurodevelopment problemsincluding language, learning, behavioral, and emotional disorders, indicating the need to better understand the social, medical, and environmental factors underlying early childhood developmental problems.”

The data was collected in collaboration with 15 regional centers in Japan, the mothers were selected between January 2011 and March 2014 and the study only assessed exposure to television and DVDs, but not the use of mobile phones and tablets, and Children diagnosed with autism, pervasive developmental disorder, and Asperger syndrome were not included.

“The key to the study, from my point of view, is to highlight the importance of social interaction (as the study itself indicates) for the development of boys and girls”

To assess child development at ages 1, 2, and 3 years, mother or guardian report was used using the ‘Ages and Stages Questionnaire’ (‘Ages and Stages Questionnaires‘), third edition. The main conclusion of the work is that the 1 and 2 year old children who spent more time in front of the television/DVD screen obtained Lower developmental scores at ages 2 and 3respectively.

The risk of replacing social interaction with screens

In the opinion of the authors of the work, “to reduce the negative consequences of excessive media use, researchers and health professionals should encourage family management of the media and recommend social support to parents who tend to depend on the media. ”.

In line with this study, María del Mar Sánchez Vera, Professor of the Department of Didactics and School Organization. A member of the Educational Technology Research Group of the University of Murcia, she explained in statements to Science Media Center Spain that “it is important to understand that correlation does not imply causation. At these ages, what we know so far is that the problem is not in the screens, but in the fact that we eliminate the stimuli that babies need at those ages, whether due to technology or other things. The key to the study, from my point of view, is to highlight the importance of social interaction (as the study itself indicates) for the development of boys and girls.”

The professor adds that the study also does not include children diagnosed with ASD (autism, pervasive developmental disorder and Asperger syndrome), and that “it is important to highlight that some diagnoses of this type cannot be given before the age of 2 because there are times when It is not known whether some aspects detected refer to a developmental delay in the child, which is why many of the diagnoses are confirmed or not during the Early Childhood Education stage, between 3 and 6 years old. Taking into account that the study analyzes up to the age of 3 years, there may be a bias to take into account. Therefore, “It is possible that there are other factors associated with child development that were not considered.”.

It also points out that the data evaluated has been provided by the families, the role of the mother being fundamental. “The questionnaires included questions about children’s TV/DVD screen time and their developmental performance. Perhaps it would have been interesting if the performance analysis had been validated by pediatricians or experts in the evolutionary development of children. It is not that this fact diminishes the value of the work, but that the data was collected by the families can contribute biases to the assessments they make of their sons and daughters.”

“For all this, it seems risky to me to say that screen time causes development problems. It’s a descriptive and observational study, and the type of content or the context in which the screens are used were not evaluated. I think it is interesting and very valuable, but that the approach when interpreting the results has to be better adjusted,” concludes the expert.

Fuente: Chib University


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