I’ve told you in the past of the detrimental effects of too much screen time for children and teens. Now comes a very concerning study about very young boys.
MedPage Today reports, “Boys exposed to more screen time at age 1 year were more likely to be diagnosed with autism at age 3, according to a multi-site Japanese study.”
The researchers found that compared with 1-year-old boys who spent no time looking at screens, those who spent one to three hours looking at screens were two to three times more likely to be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
For those viewing screens more than four hours a day were up to 6.34 times more likely to be diagnosed (≥4 hours: OR 3.02, 95% CI 1.44-6.34, P=0.04).
However, the researchers noted that “the same did not hold true for girls.”
Past studies as one environmental factor that scientists have been investigating in connection to ASD have been inconclusive.
In the U.S., one in 44 children has been diagnosed with ASD, with boys being four times more likely to be diagnosed versus girls, according to the CDC.
The WHO recommends that children younger than 1 year should not have any screen time. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) extends that recommendation to children younger than 18 months.
“Problems begin when media use displaces physical activity, hands-on exploration, and face-to-face social interaction in the real world, which is critical to learning,” the AAP said in a news release.
The results were published in JAMA Pediatrics.
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