J Med Assoc Thai 2018; 101 (3):345-9

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ICT Exposure in Children Younger Than 2 Years: Rates, Associated Factors, and Health Outcomes
Plitponkarnpim A , Srikaew C , Puranitee P , Vallibhakara SA Mail

Background: The exposure of children on information and communication technology [ICT] devices have raised concern about the potential harmful effects on children’s health and development. The American Academy of Pediatrics [AAP] has recommended to limit the time children spending on ICT. In Thailand, the study regarding ICT exposure, its associated factors, and consequences among children age less than two are limited.

Objective: To investigate the prevalence, impact of associated factors that contribute to children exposing various types of ICT, and health related consequence outcomes in cognitive and language development.

Materials and Methods: The cross-sectional study of information from the parents of children younger than 2-years-old who visit Well Baby Clinic [WBC], Pediatric Department, Ramathibodi Hospital, between December 2014 and November 2015. The present study aimed to find out the information of exposure and technology devices used, time of screen-time spent, other interested factors that associated to ICT exposure, usage rate, and health related outcomes. The descriptive statistic and comparative statistics were used to analyze and summarize. Chi-square tests or Fisher exact test were used to compare among these associated factors and health related outcomes.

Results: The rates of children exposed to ICT were 98.3 percent. Mean (SD) times of ICT exposure was 16.6±12.9 minutes per day, and median time (min, max) was 14 (0, 135) minutes per day. The result showed 8.5% of children met the category of high exposure definition and 36.2% was moderate exposure. The highest rank of exposure was 95.9% to TV viewing, 78.3% exposed and used the smartphone/tablets, and 15.4% reported usage or exposure to desktop or laptop computer. Only 0.2% of exposure was reported using handheld game console. Apart from game console, most parents were not aware of the negative effects of other ICT devices. The association of ICT exposure with parental education and household income was not found to be statistically significant (p-values >0.05). Regarding developmental issues, significant associations among ICT exposure with delay cognitive (p = 0.034) and language (p = 0.004) development were found.

Conclusion: Most Thai children age younger than 2-years-old were found to be exposed to ICT devices. Most parents lack awareness of negative effects of ICT exposure. The present study found association between screen-time and level of language and cognitive developmental delay.

Keywords: ICT, ICT exposure, Screen-time, Children, Game


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