Experts from the Finnish Institute of Health and Welfare have concluded that preschoolers’ use of gadgets is fraught with an increased risk of emotional and behavioral problems by the age of five. This is stated in a research article published March 17 in the online magazine BMJ Open.
The study by Finnish scientists involved 699 children (333 girls and 366 boys). They tracked their health and mental wellbeing from birth to age five using questionnaires that their parents filled out. So, they reported how much time their child spent at electronic devices on weekdays and weekends, how many hours he watched TV, how much he played computer games, game consoles, as well as games on a mobile phone, tablet or other device.
At the age of five, researchers used validated questionnaires to assess the prevalence of psychosocial symptoms – behavioral and emotional problems, short attention span, difficulty finding and keeping friends, and hyperactivity, Reedus writes. It turned out that the active use of gadgets, especially for watching entertainment programs, by children aged 18 months increases the risk of a child’s problems in relations with peers by 59%. It was also found that if 5-year-olds spent more than 60 minutes a day in front of a TV, smartphone or tablet, they had an increased risk of impulsivity, hyperactivity, and problems with concentration and attention.
Thus, the experts came to the conclusion that the high level of use of gadgets, especially for watching programs, leads to psychosocial consequences for the child.
In October 2020, it was reported that about 27% of Russian schoolchildren spend more than eight hours a day using gadgets. This follows from a survey conducted by the Maximum Education educational center.