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Children 2018, 5(2), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/children5020031

Children’s Environmental Health in the Digital Era: Understanding Early Screen Exposure as a Preventable Risk Factor for Obesity and Sleep Disorders

1
Larner College of Medicine, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405-0068, USA
2
Sleep Medicine Department, Children’s National Medical Center, Washington, DC 20010, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 29 December 2017 / Revised: 15 February 2018 / Accepted: 20 February 2018 / Published: 23 February 2018
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Abstract

The quantity, accessibility and focus on child-targeted programming has exponentially increased since it entered American households in the early 1900s. It may have started with the television (TV), but technology has evolved and now fits in our pockets; as of 2017, 95% of American families own a smartphone. Availability and child-tailored content has subsequently led to a decrease in the age at initial screen exposure. The negative effects that accompany the current culture of early screen exposure are extensive and need to be considered as technology continues to enter the home and inundate social interactions. Increased levels of early screen exposure have been associated with decreased cognitive abilities, decreased growth, addictive behavior, poor school performance, poor sleep patterns, and increased levels of obesity. Research on the adverse effects of early screen exposure is mounting, but further epidemiological studies are still needed to inform prevention and regulation policies. View Full-Text
Keywords: sleep; obesity; screen exposure; technology; pediatric; addiction; cognitive deficit; BMI; development sleep; obesity; screen exposure; technology; pediatric; addiction; cognitive deficit; BMI; development
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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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, 31.

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