Assessing the Impact of Screen Time on Children’s Language, Educational Ability, and Social Functioning from Infancy to Age 8

This report analyses Growing Up in New Zealand data (GUiNZ) to examine the relationship between screen exposure and later outcomes. The study aimed to assess the impact of screen exposure on language, early educational skills, and social functioning, considering different developmental periods and exposure trajectories.

The findings reveal that higher daily screen exposure during early childhood (from 9 months to 5 years) is linked to less favourable outcomes at ages 5 and 8. Children with greater screen time exhibited lower language and educational abilities, along with increased peer problems according to parent reports. The overall results support the continuation of existing national screen time guidelines.

These findings offer valuable insights into the influence of screen time on early childhood development, a critical period for establishing lifelong socio-emotional well-being and educational attainment. They can inform evidence-based policies regarding screen usage in early childhood, promoting positive outcomes for children's health and development.

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