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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 30  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 265-271

Association of digital media exposure and addiction with child development and behavior: A cross-sectional study

Department of Paediatrics, Karthikeyan Child Development Unit, Sri Ramachandra Institute of Higher Education and Research, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Udayakumar Narasimhan
Department of Paediatrics, Karthikeyan Child Development Unit, Sri Ramachandra Institute of Higher Education and Research, Porur, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ipj.ipj_157_20

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Background: Media exposure which was traditionally restricted only to television has now broadened to include various handheld devices and constant internet access. Although high quality educational and interactive screen time is beneficial, excessive addiction and early introduction of such media use has various deleterious consequences. Aim: To estimate the exposure of media among Indian children and its influence on early child development and behaviour. Settings and Design: A tertiary care hospital based cross-sectional study. Materials and Methods: We included 613 children between 18 months and 12 years who visited the paediatric out-patient department for a well or a sick visit. Their media exposure was extensively analysed along with Problematic Media Use Measure Short Form (PMUM-SF). They were screened for behaviour problems using the Child Behaviour Checklist (CBCL) and Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) accordingly. Those under five years were also subjected to a screening using Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ3). Results: The most common gadget used was television followed immediately by smartphones. The average daily screen time was 2.11 hours, Mean+SD=2.11+1.53, 95% CI 2.11+ 0.12 , found in (40.1%) of the study population .The prevalence of screen addiction was 28.1%, majority being boys..Increased screen time and media addiction were significantly associated with concerns in communication, problem-solving and personal-social domains, as well as conduct, hyperactivity and pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) problems. Conclusion: We conclude that media exposure among children should be enquired as a routine. This helps to curtail unhealthy digital media practices at the earliest to ensure a digital safe environment for children.

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