Screen Time Effects on Child Development

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Sheri Madigan, Ph.D, R.Psych Canada Research Chair in Determinants of Child Development Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology Alberta Children's Hospital Research Institute University of Calgary

Dr. Madigan

Sheri Madigan, Ph.D, R.Psych
Canada Research Chair in Determinants of Child Development
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology
Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute
University of Calgary

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Parents are reporting that screen time is one of their major concerns, so we wanted to find out more about how large of a role screen time was playing on children’s developmental outcomes. We were especially interested in the long-term impact of screens, which is why we followed children over time, from ages 2 to 5 and repeatedly assessed both screen time use and children’s achievement of developmental milestones.

There are three main findings:

  1. Our study revealed that on average children were viewing screens for 2.4, 3.6 and 1.6 hours per day at two, three and five years of age, respectively. This means that the majority of the participants in our sample are exceeding the American Academy of Pediatrics’ guideline of no more than one-hour of high quality programming per day, for children aged 2-5 years.
  2. We found statistically significant, albeit small effects suggesting that greater amounts of screen time at two and three years predict poorer child outcomes at three and five years, respectively. Thus, screen time has a lasting influence on children’s development.
  3. The opposite pattern was not observed. That is, we did not find evidence that children showing poor performance in terms of achieving developmental milestones were more likely to be place in front of screens to help cope with their potentially challenging behaviors.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: When used in excess, screen time can have consequences for children’s development. We should think of screens like we do junk food, in small doses it’s ok, but in excess, it is problematic. But it’s never too late to make a change to the way digital technology is used in the home. Media plans can be developed as a family to manage media in the home and determine how often devices will be used, as well as when and where they will be used.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response:  In this study, we asked about total hours of screen time and, as a result, we can’t determine if context matters (i.e., screens viewed with caregivers or not), or if there are certain types of digital mediums or devices that are worse than others (e.g., interactive screens, gaming consoles, or streaming media). Thus, it will be important to decipher in future research whether co-viewing screens with a caregiver, for example, dampens associations between screen time and delays in children’s development and whether certain types of screens are more or less detrimental for children’s development.

No disclosures

Citation:

Madigan S, Browne D, Racine N, Mori C, Tough S. Association Between Screen Time and Children’s Performance on a Developmental Screening Test. JAMA Pediatr. Published online January 28, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2018.5056

Feb 3, 2019 @ 1:12 pm

The information on MedicalResearch.com is provided for educational purposes only, and is in no way intended to diagnose, cure, or treat any medical or other condition. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health and ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. In addition to all other limitations and disclaimers in this agreement, service provider and its third party providers disclaim any liability or loss in connection with the content provided on this website.

 

No Detectable Developmental Issues in Children Exposed to Anesthesia and Surgery

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
"Anesthesia" by Liran Szeiman is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0James D. O’Leary, MD

Department of Anesthesia and Pain Medicine,
Child Health Evaluative Sciences
The Hospital for Sick Children
Department of Anesthesia, University of Toronto
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: There is substantial evidence from laboratory studies that the developing brain is susceptible to injury from general anesthetic drugs, which culminated in the US Food Drug Administration issuing a safety communication in 2017 stating that the use of general anaesthetic drugs “for lengthy periods of time or over multiple surgeries or procedures may negatively affect brain development in children younger than 3 years”. Considering the substantial number of children who require general anesthesia every year (almost 3 million in the US annually) even small differences in child development outcomes after surgical procedures that require general anesthesia may have significant public health implications.

Undertaking studies of anesthesia-related neurotoxicity in humans is difficult as adverse child development is a function of the complex interaction between many risk and protective factors. By examining differences between biological siblings in Ontario, Canada, this study seeks to mitigate differences in risk from biological vulnerability and environmental factors, to provide a more accurate estimate of the adverse effects of anesthesia and surgery on child development.

In the current study, young children who had surgical procedures that require general anesthesia were not found to be at increased risk of adverse child development outcomes compared to their biological siblings who did not have surgery. These findings further support that exposure to anesthesia and surgery in early childhood is not associated with detectable adverse child development outcomes. Continue reading

Prenatal Exposure to Phthalates Linked to Language Delay in Preschool Children

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Carl-Gustaf Bornehag, PhD Professor, Department of Health Sciences Karlstad University, Karlstad, Sweden Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai New York 

Prof. Bornehag

Carl-Gustaf Bornehag, PhD
Professor, Department of Health Sciences
Karlstad University, Karlstad, Sweden
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
New York 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Phthalates have been known for long time as potential endocrine disrupters. Exposure for these kind of compounds during pregnancy have been associated to impacted sexual development, most often seen in boys. However, there is also findings showing that prenatal exposure for phthalates can be associated to neurodevelopment in offspring children.

This study is focusing on prenatal exposure for phthalates and language delay at 30-37 months of age and were conducted in Sweden (the SELMA study including 963 children) and the U.S. (the TIDES study including 370 children) with the same design, measurements and protocols.

In these two independent studies, prenatal exposure for two phthalates (DBP and BBzP) was associated to language delay in pre-school children. Unique things with this study is that we are measuring the exposure during early pregnancy (1st trimester), the size of the study, and that we examined it in two independent populations, one in Europe and one in the U.S. with similar results. 

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

 Response: These compounds identified in this study are banned in many products, but since many of these (e.g., older vinyl flooring, electric cables, toys, etc.) have long life length, they can exposure people for several decades. From a consumers point of view it is good to try to find information on ingredients in these kind of products, but that can be difficult. 

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work? 

Response: We need other kind of more experimental studies that can tell us the biological mechanisms behind these effects. 

Citation:

Bornehag C, Lindh C, Reichenberg A, et al. Association of Prenatal Phthalate Exposure With Language Development in Early Childhood. JAMA Pediatr. Published online October 29, 2018. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2018.3115

Oct 31, 2018 @ 6:31 pm

The information on MedicalResearch.com is provided for educational purposes only, and is in no way intended to diagnose, cure, or treat any medical or other condition. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health and ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. In addition to all other limitations and disclaimers in this agreement, service provider and its third party providers disclaim any liability or loss in connection with the content provided on this website.