The consumption of content through screens of more than two hours per day in children under five years has been associated with a greater risk of suffering attention problems.
"We found that children who use more than two hours of screen per day had significantly more behavioral problems among five-year-olds," said lead author Piush Mandhane of the University of Alberta in Canada
Mandhane and colleagues analyzed data from the Canadian Childhood Healthy Developmental Birth Cohort (CHILD) study to determine the associations between screen time and behavioral outcomes at five years of age. .
Parents reported their children's total screen time, including video games and mobile devices, and completed the child behavior checklist when the child was five years old.
The average time of use of the screen was 1.4 hours per day in five years and 1.5 hours per day in three years. Compared with children who used the screen less than 30 minutes per day, 13.7% who used it for more than two hours were five times more likely to report "clinically significant" behavior problems and 5.9 times more likely to have problems of lack of attention.
In addition, children with more than two hours of screen per day had a 7.7-fold greater risk of meeting attention deficit or hyperactivity criteria.
According to the authors, the results indicate that the preschool stage can be a "critical" period to educate parents and families on how to limit screen time and encourage physical activity.
"The longer children spend in organized sports, the less likely they are to have behavioral problems," the authors noted.
In their findings, the researchers determined that the results of this study "support an active beginning for children that translates into screen time replaced by sports."