Study links increased screen-time to low reading in children
With the increased exposure to digital media, screen use is now a regular part of children's day-to-day lives. Researchers from department of Psychology, University of Calgary showed that increased screen time was reciprocally associated with decreased reading in later life. This study was published in the latest edition of American Academy of Pediatrics journal. From previous studies it...
With the increased exposure to digital media, screen use is now a regular part of children's day-to-day lives. Researchers from department of Psychology, University of Calgary showed that increased screen time was reciprocally associated with decreased reading in later life.
This study was published in the latest edition of American Academy of Pediatrics journal.
From previous studies it is evident that home literacy environment has been identified as a key predictor of children's language, school readiness, academic achievement, and behavioral outcomes. With the increased accessibility and consumption of digital media, it is important to understand whether screen use impacts off-line enrichment activities such as reading or whether reading activities offset screen use.
McArthur et al by using a prospective birth cohort consisting of 3223 pregnant mothers who were followed up 24, 36, and 60 months postnatally performed the study. Of those who agreed to follow-up and were eligible at the time of questionnaire completion, 76% completed the 24-month questionnaire (n = 1595), 69% completed the 36-month questionnaire (n = 1994), and 71% completed the 60-month questionnaire (n = 1992). A random intercept crosslagged panel model (RI-CLPM), was used to predict that higher screen use will relate to lower reading activities at later time points.
Key findings of the study are:
1. It was observed that there was significant and negative cross lag linking higher levels of screen use at 24 months of age with lower levels of reading activities at 36 months of age.
2.Upon analysis it was found that lower levels of reading activities at 36 months was associated with increased screen use at 60 months of age, but the obverse association was not observed.
3.There was no significant difference on the basis of child's gender, maternal educational level and other socio-demographic factors.
With the increased use and accessibility of media devices, families may turn to electronics to promote reading. Although reading electronic books was not examined in the current study, other studies have recently found that, for preschool-aged children, parents and children tend to collaborate and verbalize less when reading electronic books in comparison with reading print books.
95% of preschoolers are exceeding the current screen-time guidelines of "no more than one hour of screen time in a day." Early discussions with family may be
critical because research reveals that once problematic screen use habits are developed, they tend to persist over the early childhood period.
Also the study highlight that a reciprocal process between screen use and reading that unfolds over time, in which screen use negatively influences reading activities and then lowered reading activities lead to greater screen use.
Authors conclude-" This study supports the need for practitioners, child care professionals, and educators to encourage families to engage in healthy use of screen devices (ie, limited duration) and to encourage device-free time to establish early reading habits."
Source: McArthur BA, Browne D, McDonald S, et al.Longitudinal Associations Between Screen Use and Reading in Preschool-Aged Children. Pediatrics. 2021;