The consumption of electronic media can lead to emotional and psychological behavioral problems in preschool children. This is a result of the Life-Child study of the University of Leipzig in Germany, which was recently presented. At the same time, the researchers discovered that children who use electronic media more often have more peer-related behavioral problems a year later.
Preschool children who use a smartphone or computer daily suffered a year later more frequently from hyperactivity and inattention than children who did not use these media, as study director Tanja Poulain explains. “Children without media consumption have comparatively less emotional problems.”
For the study, 527 children aged between two and six years from Leipzig and the surrounding area were examined. “The findings indicate that increased media consumption poses a risk of developing behavioral problems, and again, behavioral problems can lead to increased consumption of these media,” says Poulain.
The Leipzig scientists advise to keep the consumption of electronic media extremely low for children and to take early signs of behavioral problems seriously. The life-child study makes it possible to accompany the individual developmental trajectories of the children in the long term, since the study participants come to the study from the outpatient department about once a year.