October 29, 2010

High Tech World = High Risks For Preschoolers

(Ivanhoe Newswire) "“ Turn off the television, amongst other devices, and take a more traditional approach towards rearing your preschool-age child. TV can be a positive tool to help your child learn, but excess tube time can leave a damaging effect.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that parents limit combined screen time from television, DVDs, computers, and video games to two hours per day for preschool-age children. Researchers found that many children are exposed to screen time both at home and while at child care, with 66 percent exceeding the recommended daily amount.

"A majority of children under the age of 5 years in the United States spend almost 40 hours a week with caregivers other than their parents, and it's important to understand what kind of screen time exposure children are getting with these other caregivers," Dr. Pooja Tandon was quoted as saying.

Dr. Tandon and fellow researchers from the Seattle Children's Research Institute and the University of Washington studied nearly 9,000 preschool-age children who took part in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study "“ Birth Cohort (ECLS-b), a longitudinal, observational study of children born in 2001 with diverse socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds.

On average, children were exposed to 4 hours of screen time each weekday, with 3.6 hours of exposure coming from home. Children in home-based child care spent a combined average of 5.6 hours watching television or videos at home and while at child care, with 87 percent exceeding the 2 hour recommendation.

Center-based child care scored slightly better, with children watching an approximate total of 3.2 hours each weekday at home and while at child care. Children who did not go to child care also tended to exceed the recommendations, however, with the average child watching 4.4 hours a day.

Television viewing in young children has been associated with speech delays, aggressive behavior, and obesity, but few states have regulations about screen time in licensed child care settings.

Dr. Tandon believes that such regulations may be helpful in curbing screen time. "Parents can also play an important role," she suggests, "by making sure all of their child's caregivers are aware of the AAP's advice regarding screen time."

SOURCE: Journal of Pediatrics, 2010