Screen Time Linked with Developmental Delays in Toddlerhood, Study Finds 

From CNN’s Kristen Rogers comes this story — the latest in a string of recent articles and research exploring the harms of screen time — reporting on a new study in JAMA Pediatrics pointing to negative developmental impacts on young children: 

“Handing your baby a phone or tablet to play with may seem like a harmless solution when you’re busy, but it could quickly affect their development, a new study has found.

Having anywhere from one to four hours of screen time per day at age 1 is linked with higher risks of developmental delays in communication, fine motor, problem-solving and personal and social skills by age 2, according to a study of 7,097 children published Monday in the journal JAMA Pediatrics. . . . 

The study measured how many hours children used screens per day at age 1 and how they performed in several developmental domains — communication skills, fine motor skills, personal and social skills, and problem-solving skills — at ages 2 and 4. Both measures were according to the mothers’ self-reports.

By age 2, those who had had up to four hours of screen time per day were up to three times more likely to experience developmental delays in communication and problem-solving skills.

Those who had spent four or more hours with screens were 4.78 times more likely to have underdeveloped communication skills, 1.74 times more likely to have subpar fine motor skills and two times more likely to have underdeveloped personal and social skills by age 2. By age 4, risk remained only in the communication and problem-solving categories.

‘One of the areas that’s relatively understudied in the whole screen time literature is looking at impacts of screen exposure on very young kids, especially when screens are introduced to babies,’ said Dr. John Hutton, associate professor of general and community pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. . . . 

‘Kids learn how to talk if they’re encouraged to talk, and very often, if they’re just watching a screen, they’re not having an opportunity to practice talking,’ he said.”

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