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JAMA Pediatr. 2014 May;168(5):485-92. doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2014.94.

Early childhood electronic media use as a predictor of poorer well-being: a prospective cohort study.

Author information

1
Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia.
2
Department of Movement and Sport Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium.
3
Bremen Institute for Prevention Research and Social Medicine, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany.
4
Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Göteborg, Göteborg, Sweden.
5
Department of Paediatrics, University of Pécs, Pécs, Hungary.
6
Faculty of Science, University of Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain.
7
Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology-BIPS, Bremen, Germany8Department of Mathematics/Computer Science, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany.
8
Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology-BIPS, Bremen, Germany.
9
Department of Intercultural Communication and Management-DEN, Consumer Sciences, Copenhagen Business School, Frederiksberg, Denmark.
10
Unit of Epidemiology and Population Genetics, Institute of Food Sciences, National Research Council, Avellino, Italy.
11
National Institute for Health Development, Tervise Arengu Instituut, Tallinn, Estonia.
12
Research and Education Institute of Child Health, Strovolos, Cyprus.
13
Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion, Lancaster University, Lancaster, England.
14
Department of Movement and Sport Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium14Department of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Ghent, Ghent, Belgium.

Abstract

IMPORTANCE:

Identifying associations between preschool-aged children's electronic media use and their later well-being is essential to supporting positive long-term outcomes.

OBJECTIVE:

To investigate possible dose-response associations of young children's electronic media use with their later well-being.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS:

The IDEFICS (Identification and Prevention of Dietary- and Lifestyle-Induced Health Effects in Children and Infants) study is a prospective cohort study with an intervention component. Data were collected at baseline from September 1, 2007, through June 30, 2008, and at follow-up from September 1, 2009, through May 31, 2010, in 8 European countries participating in the IDEFICS study. This investigation is based on 3604 children aged 2 to 6 years who participated in the longitudinal component of the IDEFICS study only and not in the intervention.

EXPOSURE:

Early childhood electronic media use.

MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES:

The following 6 indicators of well-being from 2 validated instruments were used as outcomes at follow-up: Peer problems and Emotional problems subscales from the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire and Emotional well-being, Self-esteem, Family functioning, and Social networks subscales from the KINDLR (Questionnaire for Measuring Health-Related Quality of Life in Children and Adolescents-Revised Version). Each scale was dichotomized to identify those children at risk for poorer outcomes. Indicators of electronic media use (weekday and weekend television and electronic game [e-game]/computer use) from baseline were used as predictors.

RESULTS:

Associations varied between boys and girls; however, associations suggested that increased levels of electronic media use predicted poorer well-being outcomes. Television viewing on weekdays or weekends was more consistently associated with poorer outcomes than e-game/computer use. Across associations, the likelihood of adverse outcomes in children ranged from a 1.2- to 2.0-fold increase for emotional problems and poorer family functioning for each additional hour of television viewing or e-game/computer use depending on the outcome examined.

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE:

Higher levels of early childhood electronic media use are associated with children being at risk for poorer outcomes with some indicators of well-being. Further research is required to identify potential mechanisms.

PMID:
24639016
DOI:
10.1001/jamapediatrics.2014.94
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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