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11:44, 29 January 2019

Screen time inhibits toddler development, study finds

AKIPRESS.COM - A study has found that kids 2-5 years old who engage in more screen time received worse scores in developmental screening tests.

The apparent explanation is simple: when a kid is in front of a screen, they’re not talking, walking or playing, the activities during which basic skills are cultivated.

The study, from the University of Calgary psychologists and published in the JAMA journal Pediatrics, examined the effect of screen time during a developmental period on performance in basic skills at the end of each period — specifically, at 24, 36 and 60 months old.

Caregivers reported average screen time, and also filled out standard questionnaires on motor and communication skills. A rather straightforward correlation appeared in the results: "Greater screen time at 24 months was associated with poorer performance on developmental screening tests at 36 months, and similarly, greater screen time at 36 months was associated with lower scores on developmental screening tests at 60 months."

When young children are observing screens, they may be missing important opportunities to practice and master interpersonal, motor, and communication skills. For example, when children are observing screens without an interactive or physical component, they are more sedentary and, therefore, not practicing gross motor skills, such as walking and running, which in turn may delay development in this area. Screens can also disrupt interactions with caregivers by limiting opportunities for verbal and nonverbal social exchanges, which are essential for fostering optimal growth and development.

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