Screen Time for Toddlers Causing Mental Health Problemsadmin
Although teenagers are most at risk for developing mental health problems linked to screen time and smartphone and tablet use, researchers from San Diego State University and the University of Georgia have found children as young as two are developing mental health problems because of this technology. Just an hour of screen time a day can be enough to increase the likelihood of depression and anxiety, making them less curious, less able to finish tasks, less emotionally stable, and lowering their self control The Daily Mail reports.
The study, one of the largest of its kind, relied on data provided by the parents of more than 40,000 children in the United States between the ages of 2 and 17 in 2016. They were asked questions about their child’s medical care, any emotional, development or behavioral issues, and their daily screen time.
While links between screen time and wellbeing are stronger among adolescents than younger children, study author Dr. Jean Twenge points out that teens spend more time on their phones and social media, “and we know from other research that these activities are more strongly linked to low wellbeing than watching television and videos, which is most of younger children’s screen time,” she said.
Still, this research provided some concerning insights regarding younger children. Children under 5 who are high users are twice as likely to often lose their temper and are 46% more prone to not be able to calm down when excited.
The association between screen time and diagnoses of anxiety and depression in youth has yet to be studied in great detail, making it of particular interest to Twenge and her study co-author W. Keith Campbell. “Previous research on associations between screen time and psychological well-being among children and adolescents has been conflicting, leading some researchers to question the limits on screen time suggested by physician organization,” they wrote. But their findings provide a broader range of insights at a time when youth have unprecedented access to technology and also support the American Academy of Pediatrics’ screen time limits of one hour per day for children 2-5, and recommends a limit of approximately 2 hours a day should be applied to school-age children.