A recent study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics reveals that the daily screen time of children increased from 53 minutes when they’re 1 year old to more than 150 minutes when they reach 3 years of age.
As per their findings, almost 87% of children exceed the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommended screen time for their age. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends completely avoiding digital media for children under 18 months of age and slowly introducing children to screens when they’re 18 to 24 months old.
“Our results indicate that screen habits begin early, this finding suggests that interventions to reduce screen time could have a better chance of success if introduced early,” says Edwina Yeung, senior author of the study.
However, the researchers noted a decline in screen time to under 1.5 hours per day when these kids reach the age of 7 and 8, which they believe is because of spending time on academic assignments and homework assigned by the school. This doesn’t hold true for children raised in home-based childcare or the children born to first-time mothers as the researchers found that children who grew up in such circumstances are more likely to record the highest amount of screen time.
To arrive at these findings, the researchers analyzed data from the Upstate KIDS study and classified children into two groups based on how their average screen time changed from age 1 – 3.
The first group consisted of 73% of children whose average screen time had a low increase from about 51 minutes a day to nearly an hour and 47 minutes a day. The rest 27% were in the second group whose average screen time skyrocketed from nearly 37 minutes of screen time a day to almost 4 hours a day.
Another takeaway from the research is that “higher levels of parental education” meant that children were less likely to end up in the second group. Also, girls were comparatively a bit less likely to be in the second group.