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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(4), 814; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15040814

Reciprocal Associations between Electronic Media Use and Behavioral Difficulties in Preschoolers

1
LIFE Leipzig Research Center for Civilization Diseases, Leipzig University, Philipp-Rosenthal-Strasse 27, 04103 Leipzig, Germany
2
Integrated Research and Treatment Center Adiposity Diseases, Department of Medical Psychology and Medical Sociology, Leipzig University, Philipp-Rosenthal-Strasse 27, 04103 Leipzig, Germany
3
Institute of Epidemiology and Medical Biometry, Ulm University, Helmholtzstrasse 22, 89081 Ulm, Germany
4
Department of Women and Child Health, Hospital for Children and Adolescents and Center for Pediatric Research (CPL), Leipzig University, Liebigstrasse 20a, 04103 Leipzig, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 21 February 2018 / Revised: 13 April 2018 / Accepted: 18 April 2018 / Published: 21 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eating and Exercise in Children and Adolescents)
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Abstract

The use of electronic media has increased substantially and is already observable in young children. The present study explored associations of preschoolers’ use of electronic media with age, gender, and socio-economic status, investigated time trends, and examined reciprocal longitudinal relations between children’s use of electronic media and their behavioral difficulties. The study participants included 527 German two- to six-year-old children whose parents had provided information on their use of electronic media and their behavioral difficulties at two time points, with approximately 12 months between baseline and follow-up. The analyses revealed that older vs. younger children, as well as children from families with a lower vs. higher socio-economic status, were more often reported to use electronic media. Furthermore, the usage of mobile phones increased significantly between 2011 and 2016. Most interestingly, baseline usage of computer/Internet predicted more emotional and conduct problems at follow-up, and baseline usage of mobile phones was associated with more conduct problems and hyperactivity or inattention at follow-up. Peer relationship problems at baseline, on the other hand, increased the likelihood of using computer/Internet and mobile phones at follow-up. The findings indicate that preschoolers’ use of electronic media, especially newer media such as computer/Internet and mobile phones, and their behavioral difficulties are mutually related over time. View Full-Text
Keywords: media use; behavioral difficulties; preschool; longitudinal media use; behavioral difficulties; preschool; longitudinal
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Poulain, T.; Vogel, M.; Neef, M.; Abicht, F.; Hilbert, A.; Genuneit, J.; Körner, A.; Kiess, W. Reciprocal Associations between Electronic Media Use and Behavioral Difficulties in Preschoolers. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 814.

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