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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 765-772

Parental perception on screen time and psychological distress among young children

1 Family Medicine, The Indus Hospital, Karachi, Pakistan
2 Family Medicine, Indus Hospital Research Center (IHRC), Indus Health Network, Karachi, Pakistan

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Annum Ishtiaq
Department of Family Medicine, The Indus Hospital, Karachi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_1720_20

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Objective: We aimed to assess the parent-reported screen time of children, identify the perceived risk factors for increased screen time and its relationship to psychological distress in children. Materials and Method: A cross sectional study was conducted at a teaching hospital in Karachi, Pakistan. A total of 230 employees from medical and non-medical departments were included. Participants were employees with child/children ages 4-12 year who consented to participate in the study, we included 135 fathers and 91 mothers. The questionnaire included (i) demographic data (ii) Media history exam form and (iii) parent reported strength and difficult questionnaire (SDQ). Result: The average daily screen time reported was 2.5 (1.5-5) hour for boys and 2 (1-4) hour for girls. Preschoolers had greater screen time as compared to school-aged children (Median (IQR): 3 (1.5-5.6) vs 2 (1-4), P = 0.46). The children owned devices with approximately equal distribution of preschoolers and school-aged children (19 (27.1%) and 48 (30%), P = 0.661 respectively). Emotional score was found higher in school-aged group in comparison to preschoolers (p = 0.036). Moreover, mother screen time and number of devices owned by a child were found to be positively associated with child's screen time. Conclusion: We conclude that as we are embracing the digital age providing a tech free zone to children is virtually impossible. Children screen time related activities in our part of the world exceeds the limitation. Parental awareness and co-viewing screen with their children are essential to avoid media related behavior problems.

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