Association of Screen Time Use and Language Development in Hispanic Toddlers: A Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Study

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Abstract

This study examined the association between screen media use, media content, and language development among 119 Hispanic infants and toddlers. Children and their caregivers were recruited through an urban, Early Head Start program. Duration and content of screen media exposure was measured through a 24-hour recall questionnaire, and language development was measured at baseline and at 1-year follow up. Children in the sample spent an average of 3.29 hours engaged with screen media (median 2.5 hours per day). In both cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses, children who watched over 2 hours of television per day had increased odds of low communication scores. Whereas child-directed media was associated with low language scores, adult-directed media was not. Our findings support the mounting literature on the deleterious impacts of screen media in toddler's language development. Guidance and alternatives to screen media use should be available to families in pediatric practices and early childhood centers.

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