Fitzpatrick C, Binet M-A, Cristini E, Lopes Almeida M, Bégin M, Frizzo G. (2023). Reducing harm and promoting positive media use strategies: new perspectives in understanding the impact of preschooler media use on health and development. Psicologia: Reflexão e Crítica. 36(19), 1-14.
Most children grow up in homes with easy access to multiple screens. Screen use by children between the ages of 0 to 5 has become a worldwide preoccupation. In the present narrative review, we examine child and parent screen use and its contribution to physical, cognitive, and social developmental outcomes. As research has mostly focused on the adverse consequences of screen media, we aim to depict both the negative and the positive influences of screen usage. To provide a more nuanced portrait of the potential benefits and harms of screen use, we examine how consequences of media use vary according to the content of media (ex., educational, violent), context (ex., using screens during mealtimes), and the nature (ex., passive vs active use) of child screen use. Our review supports existing screen time guidelines and recommendations and suggests that media content, the context of use, and the nature of child use, as well as the parent’s own screen use, be considered clinically. Future research should seek to clarify how these dimensions jointly contribute to child screen use profiles and associated consequences. Finally, child sex, behavioral/temperamental difficulties, and family adversity appear to contribute to child screen use and its consequences and should be considered in future research. Suggestions for harm-reduction approaches are discussed.