Consumption of content using screens more than two hours a day in children under the age of five was associated with a higher risk of attention deficit problems.
"We found that children who used more than two hours of screen time a day had significantly more behavioral problems among those five years old," explained lead author of a new study, Phyosh Mandhane, from the University of Alberta, Canada
The researchers looked at data from cohort study of healthy, Canadian-based babies to determine the relationship between screen time and behavioral outcomes at the age of five. .
Parents reported on their total children's time, including video games and mobile devices, and completed the child's checklist when the child was five years old.
Average screen usage was 1.4 hours per day in five years and 1.5 hours per day in three years. Compared to children who used the screen less than 30 minutes per day, 13.7% who used it for more than two hours had a five-fold greater risk of reporting "clinically significant" behavior problems and 5.9 times greater risk of attention deficit problems.
In addition, children with more than two hours of screen per day were 7.7 times more likely to meet the criteria for attention or hyperactivity disorder.
According to the researchers, the study findings indicate that the gene stage can be a "critical" period to educate parents and families how to limit screen time and encourage physical activity.
"The more children invested in organized sports, the more likely they were to exhibit behavioral problems," the researchers said.
In their conclusions, the researchers concluded that the results of the study "support an active beginning for children translated into screen time replaced by sport."