In extremely preterm children, high daily screen time may lead to problems in cognition and behavior: JAMA
USA: More than two hours of screen time among 6 and 7-year-olds who were born extremely preterm increases the risk of deficits in overall IQ, impulse control, executive functioning (problem-solving skills), and attention, suggests a recent study. Further, those who had a television or computer in their bedrooms were more likely to have problems with paying attention and impulse control.
The findings of the study, published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics suggest that a high amount of screen time may exacerbate the behavioral problems and cognitive deficits common to children born extremely preterm.
Previous studies have linked high amounts of screen time among children born full-term to language and developmental, behavioral, and other problems. In the current study, Betty R. Vohr, Department of Pediatrics, Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island, Providence, and colleagues analyzed data from a study of children born at 28 weeks or earlier.
Of 414 children, 238 had more than two hours of screen time per day and 266 had a television or computer in their bedrooms. Compared to children with less screen time per day, those with high amounts of screen time scored an average deficit of nearly 8 points on global executive function percentile scores, roughly 0.8 points lower on impulse control (inhibition) and more than 3 points higher on inattention. Children with a television or computer in their bedrooms also scored lower on measures of inhibition, hyperactivity and impulsivity.
The authors concluded that the findings support the need for physicians to discuss the potential effects of screen time with families of children born extremely preterm.
The study titled, "Association of High Screen-Time Use With School-age Cognitive, Executive Function, and Behavior Outcomes in Extremely Preterm Children," is published in JAMA Pediatrics.