Toddlers who have more than one hour a day of screentime are more likely to have emotional and behavioural issues, a study has said.
A Finnish team have found a link between televisions, tablets and phone devices to hyperactivity, poor concentration and short attention spans.
- Eyesight warning over increased screen time use during lockdown
- Reduce screen time and improve health say experts
They have also found evidence to suggest that an overload of technology could also impact the child’s ability to make friends.
The researchers have speculated that young children who use devices mean less time is spent doing more productive or educational activities such as reading, playing and interacting with friends and family.
Previous studies have found that tablet and TV use among preschool children has tripled between 2013 and 2017.
Speaking to the Mail Online, social scientist Dr Janette Niiranen, from the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare in Helsinki, said: “Our results show that 5-year-old children spend considerably more time on e-media than is recommended by professionals.
“High levels of e-media use, especially programme viewing, are associated with problems with psychosocial outcomes, while use of electronic games was only associated with hyperactivity in the crude models.
“Although children’s e-media use patterns might not seem problematic when considering use on a daily level, they do have risks in the long term.”
The trial involved analysing information collected from the Finnish ‘CHILD-SLEEP’ study, which has been monitoring the health and psychological wellbeing of just under 700 children from when they were born.
- Children glued to TV and tablets could be at risk of type 2 diabetes
- More social media activity leads to depression says study
Parents were asked to report how much time their child spent using electronic media from the age of 18 months right through to when they turned five.
Once the child reached that age, they were then assessed for any emotional and behavioural issues.
The researchers have recommended that small children should spend less than 60 minutes a day using electrical devices.
The study findings have been published in the BMJ Open journal.