Published: 2021-08-23

Exposure and use of digital media among under-five children

Shajeeda Babusabgari, Bhavani Bangarkodi Balakrishna


Background: The use of digital media, such as television, smart phones, tablets, iPod has become a significant part of children’s lives. Children's exposure to digital media is increasing, as are concerns about the impact that screen time has on children and families. The study evaluates the exposure and use of digital media among under five children.

Methods: The study was conducted among mothers of under-five children attending Paediatric outpatient department of a hospital. The sample included 150 mothers of under-five children. A structured questionnaire was used to collect data on selected demographic variables. A modified rating scale was used to elicit data regarding the exposure and use of digital media among under-five children.

Results: Around half of children were exposed to smartphones between 1-2 years of age. During infancy around forty percent of children were exposed to smart phones. More than half the mothers used mobile devices while doing household chores. A higher proportion of under five children had increased screen time and large proportion (65.3%) of under-five children had high levels of exposure to digital media.

Conclusions: A significant number of under five children were using the digital media and screen time exposure exceeded than that of recommended limit.


Digital media, Under-five children, Mother, Screen time

Full Text:



State of the world’s children-2017 children in a digital world. Available at: 48601/file. Accessed on 31 May 2021.

Lee L. Digital media and young children's learning: A case study of using iPads in American preschools. Int J Inf Edu Technol. 2015;5(12):947.

Chassiakos YR, Radesky J, Christakis D, Moreno MA, Cross C. Technical report. Paediatr. 2016; 138(5):e20162593.

Chaudron S. Young children (0-8) and digital technology: A qualitative exploratory study across seven countries. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union; 2015.

Cristia A, Seidl A. Parental reports on touch screen use in early childhood. PLoS One. 2015;10(6) e0128338.

Paudel S, Leavy J, Jancey J. Correlates of mobile screen media use among children aged 0-8: protocol for a systematic review. Syst Rev. 2016.5(91):45-52.

Courage ML, Setliff AE. When babies watch television: Attention-getting, attention-holding and the implications for learning from video material. Developmental Rev. 2010;30(2):220-38.

Lieberman DA, Bates CH, Jiyeon S. Young children's learning with digital media. computers in the schools. 2009;26(4):271-83.

Lee L. Digital media and young children's learning: A case study of using iPads in American preschools. Int J Information Edu Technol. 2015;5(12):947-9.

Radesky J, Christakis D, Moreno MA, Cross C. Technical report. Paediatr. 2016; 138(5):e20162593.

Lillard AS, Peterson J. The immediate impact of different types of television on young children's executive function. Pediatr. 2011;128(4):644-9.

Christakis DA, Zimmerman FJ, Di Giuseppe DL, McCarty CA. Early television exposure and subsequent attentional problems in children. Pediatri. 2004;13(4):708-13.

Pagani LS, Fitzpatrick C, Barnett TA, Dubow E. Prospective associations between early childhood television exposure and academic, psychosocial, and physical well-being by middle childhood. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2010;64(5):425-31.

Garrison MM, Liekweg K, Christakis DA. Media use and child sleep: the impact of content, timing, and environment. Pediatr. 2011;28(1):29-35.

Chang HY, Park EJ, Yoo HJ, won Lee J, Shin Y. Electronic media exposure and use among toddlers. Psychiat Investig. 2018;15(6):568-73.

Kim SJ, Cho SM, Lim KY. The effects of high exposure to smart phone from 3 to 5 years children’s behaviours. Eur Psychiatry. 2017;41(S1): S214.

Harsh P, Chakrabarty BK, Mahajan I. Early exposure and adaption of smart phone devices among young children and parental perception of their usage in a semi urban, middle class population in India. International journal of current advanced research. 2018;7(8):4772-5.

Wolf C, Wolf S, Weiss M, Nino G. Children's environmental health in the digital era: understanding early screen exposure as a preventable risk factor for obesity and sleep disorders. Children. 2018;5(2):31.

Tandon PS, Zhou C, Lozano P, Christakis DA. Preschoolers’ total daily screen time at home and by type of child care. J Pediatr.2011;158(2):297- 300.

Shah RR, Fahey NM, Soni AV, Phatak AG, Nimbalkar SM. Screen time usage among preschoolers aged 2-6 in rural Western India: A cross-sectional study. J Family Med Prim Care. 2019;8(6): 1999‐2002.

Bansal S, Mahajan RC. Impact of mobile use amongst children in rural area of Marathwada region of Maharashtra pediatrics. Int J Contemp Pediatr. 2018; 5(1):50-4.

Radesky JS, Weeks HM, Ball R, Schaller A, Yeo S, Durnez J, et al .Young Children’s Use of Smartphones and tablets. Pediatrics. 2020;146(1): e20193518.

Xie G, Deng Q, Cao J, Chang Q. Digital screen time and its effect on preschoolers’ behavior in China: results from a cross-sectional study. Ital J Pediatr. 2020;46(9):45-59.

Parenting. Available at: parenting/child-development/babies-screen-time. Accessed on 31May 2021.

Kılıç AO, Sari E, Yucel H, Oğuz MM, Polat E, Acoglu EA, et al. Exposure to and use of mobile devices in children aged 1-60 months. Eur J Pediatr. 2019;178(2):221-7.

Kabali HK, Irigoyen MM, Nunez-Davis R, Budacki JG, Mohanty SH, Leister KP, et al. Exposure and use of mobile media devices by young children. Pediatrics. 2015;36(6):1044-50.

Kaur N, Gupta M, Malhiand P, Grover S. Screen time in under-five children. Indian Pediatrics. 2019;56 (9):773-8.

Stiglic N, Viner RM. Effects of screen time on the health and well-being of children and adolescents: a systematic review of reviews. BMJ. 2019; 9(1): e023191.

Guerrero MD, Barnes JD, Chaput JP, Tremblay MS. Screen time and problem behaviors in children: exploring the mediating role of sleep duration. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2019;16:105.

Ginsburg KR. The importance of play in promoting healthy child development and maintaining strong parent-child bonds. Pediatrics. 2007;119(1):182-8.