Children and media exposure
Background: Children and adolescents spend several hours watching television, playing video games and surfing the internet. Benefits of media are vast, but potential risks exist.
Objectives: Determine the patterns of media exposure in a population of children and adolescents.
Methods: This is a cross-sectional, observational and analytic study. We selected a convenience sample from children and adolescents between 4 months and 18 years who were observed in a primary healthcare center and a questionnaire was applied to the caregivers.
Results: One hundred and twenty six questionnaires were obtained. A significant percentage of children and adolescents were exposed to more than two hours a day of screen time at weekdays and weekend: television - 15,9% and 50,4%, video games - 6,3% and 15,9% and computer - 10,3% and 22,2%, respectively. A considerable number of children under two years of age is exposed to one hour or more of television a day at weekdays (21,4%) and weekend (32,1%). Sixty-nine point six percent of caregivers reported using television or tablet at mealtimes. The presence of media in the bedroom was associated with greater exposure to television at weekdays (p=0,026 and p=0,005, respectively). Habits of caregivers related to the media were associated with increased exposure of children and adolescents to television at weekend (p=0,004). Screen time seemed to be significantly associated with reduced sleep duration.
Conclusions: Exposure to media is growing and occurs at increasingly earlier ages. This issue should be addressed in medical appointments, in order to advise parents.
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