Screen time is associated with poorer performance on developmental
screening tests among young children, according to a study published online in JAMA Pediatrics.
Sheri Madigan, PhD, from the University of Calgary in
Alberta, Canada, and colleagues examined the directional association between
screen time and child development in a three-wave cross-lagged panel model.
Data were included for 2441 mothers and children and were available when
children were aged 24, 36, and 60 months. Developmental outcomes were assessed
via maternal report using the Ages and Stages Questionnaire, Third Edition.
The researchers observed significant correlations for higher
levels of screen time at ages 24 and 36 months with poorer performance on
developmental screening tests at 36 and 60 months, respectively (β, −0.08 and
−0.06, respectively). An association between lower scores on developmental
screening tests and higher levels of screen time at later time points was not
“To our knowledge, the present study is the first to
provide evidence of a directional association between screen time and poor
performance on development screening tests among very young children,” the
authors write. “Understanding the directional association between screen
time and its correlates and taking family-based steps to engage with technology
in positive ways may be fundamental to ensuring developmental success of
children growing up in a digital age.”
Reference: Madigan S, et al. Association Between Screen Time
and Children’s Performance on a Developmental Screening Test. JAMA Pediatr. Published online 28 January,