(CBS Local) — Toddlers are getting way too much screen time, according to research by the National Institutes of Health. Daily use of television, computers and mobile devices by children increased from 53 minutes at age 12 months to more than 150 minutes at 3 years old.
Children of first-time mothers and children who were in home-based child care were found to have the most excessive screen use by age 8, the study found.
Researchers also found that boys and twins were more likely to belong to the highest screen time group, compared to girls and single-born children, respectively.
The study was published Monday in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.
Use of screen time explodes between 12 months and three years in the United States, according to a new study https://t.co/bAI5JWQxB2
— CNN (@CNN) November 25, 2019
“Our results indicate that screen habits begin early,” said senior author Edwina Yeung, an investigator at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
Nearly 4,000 upstate New York mothers were asked about the level of screen use by their children at 12, 18, 24, 30 and 36 months of age. Those answers were then compared to the results of similar questions when the children were 7 and 8 years old.
Researchers found that 87 percent of the nearly 4,000 children analyzed for the study had daily screen time exceeding the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations.
“This finding suggests that interventions to reduce screen time could have a better chance of success if introduced early,” Yeung continued.
The AAP says no baby under 18 months should be exposed to a screen, except for face-to-face video-chatting. Children between 18 months and 5 years of age should only be exposed to one hour a day, preferably with parents or caregivers who can help them understand what they’re seeing.
The AAP has an interactive tool to create a personalized media use plan for families.