Bottom Line: Children younger than 6 spend most of their screen time watching TV. That's the finding of a new study that assessed screen time in young children in 1997 and in 2014, before and after mobile devices were widely available. The study used time diary data from a representative group of American children younger than 6 who completed the time diary (1,327 children in 1997 and 443 children in 2014). In 1997, daily screen time averaged 1.3 hours for children up to age 2 and almost 2.5 hours for children 3 to 5, with the highest amount of screen time per day spent watching TV. By 2014, total screen time among children up to age 2 increased to about 3 hours per day and most of that time was spent watching TV; children 3 to 5 didn't have a significant change in total screen time in 2014 but most of it was spent watching TV. Authors suggest future research look at the association between screen time and parenting style and sibling and peer influence.
Authors: Weiwei Chen, Ph.D., and Jessica L. Adler, Ph.D., of Florida International University, Miami, Florida
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