Baby playing with tablet

Inna Volodina |

Study finds screen time on the rise in 2-year-olds

February 19, 2019 - 12:13 pm

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- There's a new report on children, and concerns about too much screen time.

The study of parent diary data published in the journal Pediatrics, says the amount of daily screen time for kids under the age of 2 went from 1.32 hours in 1997 to just over 3 hours in 2014 with television accounting for over 2 hours of that in 2014 compared to half an hour in 1997.

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Excessive screen time early in life has been associated with cognitive, language, and social and emotional delays, as well as obesity and impaired sleep in kids.

Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson, a pediatrician and chief of digital innovation at Seattle Children's Hospital, said she's not surprised by the rise in screen time.

"When we're busy and we're working a couple of jobs or are overwhelmed or are a single parent, the television is so effective at holding our child's attention and making it easier on our household," she said.

She says there's a difference between e-readers, learning tools, and other devices like TVs and tablets.

"I want them to be thought of differently," she said. "As I watch my own children interact with iPads, televisions and tablets versus an e-reader, I think they are different devices, and I don't want them to be lumped together."

In 2016, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended avoiding screens altogether in kids under 18 months.

"As a child's brain is developing, particularly in the first 2 to 3 years of life, the brain is making wild, new novel connections. It is wiring and re-wiring," Swanson explained.