Excess Screen Time May Cause Developmental Delays in Young Children

Jan 28, 2019

A new study has found that young children who are exposed to high levels of screen time have delays in developmental outcomes such as language, communication, motor skills and emotional health.

Published this week in the pediatric journal of the American Medical Association, researchers looked at the screen time habits of a group of 2 year-old-children and their development. They studied the group again at 36 months (a year later) and then at 60 months and found that excess screen time may harm children’s ability to develop optimally.

By law, childcare centers in West Virginia are prohibited from using screen media under the age of two and screen time is limited to 75 hours a week for each school-aged child. But a 2017 survey from Common Sense Media has found that on average, 98% of US children ages 0-8 spend about 2 hours a day at home on screens. Which exceeds the recommended pediatric guideline of an hour a day viewing high-quality programming. The report didn’t break down the findings by state.

Researchers recommended that families consider putting together a media plan to manage screen time as a way to prevent excess use.

Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from Marshall Health and Charleston Area Medical Center.