A group of Japanese scientists found that exposing 1-year-old babies to more screen time could lead to developmental delays in communication and problem-solving skills.
About the study: The research was conducted between July 2013 and March 2017. According to the study, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Pediatrics on Monday, 7,097 mother-child pairs were recruited from 50 obstetric clinics and hospitals across Miyagi and Iwate prefectures in Japan for the study.
During the study, researchers asked the mothers to identify how much screen time they allow their 1-year-old children every day: none; less than one hour; one to less than two hours; two to less than four hours; or four or more hours. In their analysis, the researchers combined those who responded with none and less than one hour, creating four categories.
Skills test: The scientists also asked parents how their children performed in the five developmental domains — communication, fine motor, personal, social and problem-solving skills — at ages 2 and 4.
What they found: The scientists found that the babies who were allowed four or more hours of screen time were three times more likely to experience developmental delays in communication and problem-solving by the age of 2. These results, however, reportedly become unapparent when the child reaches the age of 4.
The group noted that the results of their study, as well as a previous one, suggested “an association between screen time and communication and problem-solving domains” in children, but results for personal and social skills were “inconsistent across studies.”
The scientists concluded that more screen time “at age one year was associated in a dose-response manner with developmental delays in communication and problem-solving at ages two and four years.”