*According to the Canadian Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines for the Early Years (0 – 4 years): For healthy growth and development, caregivers should minimize the time infants (aged less than 1 year), toddlers (aged 1–2 years) and preschoolers (aged 3–4 years) spend being sedentary during waking hours. This includes prolonged sitting or being restrained (e.g., stroller, high chair) for more than one hour at a time. For those under 2 years, screen time (e.g., TV, computer, electronic games) is not recommended. For children 2–4 years, screen time should be limited to under one hour per day; less is better. For 5 year olds screen time should be limited to no more than 2 hours per day. http://www.csep.ca/CMFiles/Guidelines/CanadianSedentaryGuidelinesStatements_E_2012.pdf accessed June 22, 2017.
Source: CICH graphic created using data adapted from Statistics Canada. Health Reports. Physical activity and sedentary behaviour of Canadian children aged 3 to 5. Research article, Catalogue no. 82-003-X, Vol. 27, no. 9, pp. 14-23, September 2016. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-003-x/2016009/article/14653-eng.htm -accessed June 22, 2017.
Between 2009 and 2013, 22% of children aged 3 to 4 years met the recommended guidelines of one hour or less of screen time per day
Three quarters of 5 year-olds met the recommended guidelines of 2 hours or less of screen time per day.
No significant difference was observed between boys and girls in both age groups.
Compared with 5 year-olds, children aged 3 to 4 were less likely to meet the screen time guidelines (guidelines for children 3 to 4 recommend half the screen time recommended for 5 year-olds).1
Screen time reported by parents averaged 2 hours a day for children 3 to 4 years of age, and 2.2 hours a day for children 5 years old.1
1Statistics Canada. Health Reports. Physical activity and sedentary behaviour of Canadian children aged 3 to 5. Research article, Catalogue no. 82-003-X, Vol. 27, no. 9, pp. 14-23, September 2016. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-003-x/2016009/article/14653-eng.htm-accessed June 22, 2017.
Research examining sedentary screen time among young children has found that this behaviour may be habit-forming, and early overexposure increases the likelihood of overuse in later life and that screen use tends to increase over time. Health routines, including family media use, are established more easily in early childhood than later on. It is no know whether early exposure to screen media changes the developing brain and we don’t know how much young children learn from screens. However, we do know that they learn intensely through face-to-face interaction with parents and caregivers and early learning is developmentally more efficient when experienced live, interactively, in real time and space and with real people. Research indicates that there is a negative relationship with excessive screen time and language development, attention, cognitive development and executive function among young children. It also decreases the time spent between children and their parents.1
1Canadian Paediatric Society. Screen time and young children: Promoting health and development in a digital world. Paediatr Child Health 2017;22(8):461–468.