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Parental restriction reduces the harmful effects of in-bedroom electronic devices
  1. King-wa Fu1,
  2. Frederick Ka Wing Ho2,
  3. Nirmala Rao3,
  4. Fan Jiang4,
  5. Sophia Ling Li2,
  6. Tatia Mei-chun Lee5,6,
  7. Sophelia Hoi-shan Chan2,
  8. Ada Wing-yan Yung2,
  9. Mary Eming Young7,
  10. Patrick Ip2
  1. 1 Journalism and Media Studies Centre, The University of Hong Kong, Pok Fu Lam, Hong Kong
  2. 2 Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Pok Fu Lam, Hong Kong
  3. 3 Faculty of Education, The University of Hong Kong, Pok Fu Lam, Hong Kong
  4. 4 Shanghai Children's Medical Center, Shanghai, People's Republic of China
  5. 5 Laboratory of Neuropsychology, The University of Hong Kong, Pok Fu Lam, Hong Kong
  6. 6 State Key Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, The University of Hong Kong, Pok Fu Lam, Hong Kong
  7. 7 China Development Research Foundation, Beijing, China
  1. Correspondence to Dr Patrick Ip, Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, 1/F, New Clinical Building, Queen Mary Hospital, Hong Kong; patricip{at}hku.hk

Abstract

Objective To investigate whether school readiness could be affected by placing electronic devices (EDs) in children's bedroom and whether the relationship was moderated by parental restriction and family socioeconomic status (SES).

Design This is a cross-sectional study with bedroom ED placement and parental restriction reported by parents. Multiple linear regressions were used to test the relationship between school readiness and ED placement. Multiple regression with interaction terms were used to test whether the effect was consistent with and without parental restriction.

Setting Kindergartens randomly selected from two districts of different socioeconomic backgrounds in Hong Kong, China.

Patients 556 young children attending the third year of kindergarten.

Main outcome measures Children's school readiness was rated by teachers using the Chinese Early Development Instrument.

Results 556 preschoolers (mean age 5.46; 51.8% girls) from 20 kindergartens participated in this study. About 30% of parents placed at least one ED in their children's bedroom. After controlling for sex and SES, the placement of television in the bedroom was associated with lower overall school readiness (β −1.11, 95% CI −1.80 to −0.42) and the placement of game console was associated with lower social competence (β−0.94, 95% CI −1.74 to −0.15). Such harmful effect was more prominent among lower SES families and could be partially alleviated with parental restriction.

Conclusion ED placement in children's bedroom was associated with lower school readiness, particularly among lower SES families. Parental restriction might help to alleviate the harm.

  • neurodevelopment
  • comm child health

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Footnotes

  • Contributors K-wF contributed to the study design, data interpretation and drafted the manuscript. FKWH analysed and interpreted the data, drafted the manuscript and is the co-first author. NR contributed to the study conceptualisation and data interpretation, critically reviewed the manuscript and is the co-corresponding author of this manuscript. FJ interpreted the data and critically reviewed the manuscript. SLL contributed to the study design and critically reviewed the manuscript. TM-cL and SH-sC interpreted the data and critically reviewed the manuscript. MEY contributed to the study conceptualisation and data interpretation and critically reviewed the manuscript. PI designed the study, interpreted the data, critically reviewed the manuscript and is the corresponding author of this manuscript. All authors approved the final manuscript as submitted.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval Institutional Review Board of the University of Hong Kong/Hospital Authority Hong Kong West Cluster.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Correction notice This paper has been amended since it was published Online First. Owing to a scripting error, some of the publisher names in the references were replaced with 'BMJ Publishing Group'. This only affected the full text version, not the PDF. We have since corrected these errors and the correct publishers have been inserted into the references.

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