Benefits and damages of the use of touchscreen devices for the development and behavior of children under 5 years old—a systematic review

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Abstract

Aim: Several health organizations have been expressing concern about the amount of time children spend using electronic devices and about the benefits and damages of the use of touchscreen devices, such as smartphones or tablets, for the development and behavior of children under the age of 5. A systematic review was carried out in order to understand the impact of touchscreen device usage toward children’s development and behavior under the age of 5. Methods: Using the PRISMA method, from a total of 6314 studies found in online databases, searched in English, between 01/01/2000 and 01/10/2018, 11 studies were selected for analysis. Results: The results revealed that, in children under the age of 5, the damages of the use of touchscreen devices are superior to the benefits that may result, especially when there are more hours of screen time. More importance is given to the quality of the child-adult relationship and not to the use of touchscreen devices. Nevertheless, some studies emphasize some aspects that may reduce the negative effects, such as moderate use, less screen time, parental monitoring, and viewing educational programs in an academic environment. Conclusions: Guidelines that should be given to parents about the use of touchscreen devices by children are discussed. The limitation of this study was the difficulty in finding studies directed to the desired age and type of electronic device. This may be taken as a potential cause of bias.

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Rocha, B., & Nunes, C. (2020, December 1). Benefits and damages of the use of touchscreen devices for the development and behavior of children under 5 years old—a systematic review. Psicologia: Reflexao e Critica. Springer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH. https://doi.org/10.1186/s41155-020-00163-8

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