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Parental restriction reduces the harmful effects of in-bedroom electronic devices

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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