Excessive use of electronic media, such as watching television, using computers and playing electronic games, can lead to poorer well-being in children, according to a new study.
Using electronic media can be a sedentary behavior and sedentary behavior is associated with adverse health outcomes and may be detrimental at a very young age.
The authors used data from the European Identification and Prevention of Dietary- and Lifestyle-Induced Health Effects in Children and Infants (IDEFICS) study to examine the association of using electronic media between ages 2 and 6 years and the well-being of children two years later.
Questionnaires were used to measure six indicators of well-being, including emotional and peer problems, self-esteem, emotional well-being, family functioning and social networks.
Among 3,604 children, electronic media use appeared to be associated with poorer well-being. Watching television appeared to be associated with poorer outcomes more than playing electronic games or using computers.
The risk of emotional problems and poorer family functioning increased with each additional hour of watching TV or electronic game and computer use.
The study is published online in JAMA Pediatrics.