The study shows that 75% of children under the age of two and 67% aged two to five spend too much time in front of a screen.
According to a new global study, the majority of children aged five and under do not meet screen-time limits.
Only a quarter of children under the age of two, and one in every three children aged two to five, meet international criteria, according to the report, highlighting the need for more public health measures focused at promoting healthy device usage.
Global guidelines recommend that infants under the age of two avoid all screen time, and children aged two to five spend no more than an hour per day in front of a screen.
While these standards have been adopted around the world, the extent to which they are followed varies, according to the researchers, and precise estimates are needed to inform public health and policy initiatives.
Previous research has revealed that more frequent screen use is linked to a greater chance of reported behavioural issues and poor developmental outcomes.
The study authors from the University of Calgary, Canada, write in the Jama Paediatrics journal:
Given how many children exceed screen-time guidelines, industry elimination of ads from programming and apps directed at children, would support healthier outcomes. Digital media are now a regular part of young children’s lives, and supporting families to best fit evidence-based recommendations into their daily routines needs to be a priority.
When screen-use limitations were set at two hours per day instead of one, children aged two to five were more likely to meet the recommendation.
According to the researchers, the discovery that a higher number of children are meeting the two-hour daily guideline is significant because it shows that many families will only need to make minimal adjustments to reach the one-hour daily suggestion.
The researchers based their findings on data from 63 studies involving a total of 89, 163 people, most of which focused on questionnaire responses but also included interviews.
For children younger than two, a large portion of the studies looked at screen use to watch TV/movies, or a combination of TV/movies and/or computers, mobile use and video games.
A substantial portion of the research for children under the age of two focused on screen use to watch TV/movies, or a mix of TV/movies and/or computers, mobile use, and video games.
A small percentage examined the use of tablets or computers.
A majority of research used a combination of TV/movies and/or computers, iPads, and video games for children aged two to five, and a big fraction of studies used only TV/movies for children aged two to five.
The researchers come at the following conclusion:
This meta-analysis demonstrates that the majority of children five years and younger are not meeting screen-time guidelines.
In 2016, the American Academy of Paediatrics recommended children under the age of two to avoid screen time (except for video chatting) and restrict screen time for children aged two to five years to one hour per day.
Similar guidelines have been approved by the Health Organisation and paediatric societies around the world.