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Daily Media Usage and Its Effect on Child Development

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Daily Media Usage and its Effect on Child Development

Aubrey Short

Wright State University Lake Campus

Daily Media Usage and its Effect on Child Development

Problem Statement and Background

This is a decade of technology as media use is becoming increasingly common as the years go by.  It is extremely common to see children of all ages using some form of medium, whether it be tablets, television, or smartphones.  According to Common Sense Media’s nationwide survey, in 2017, 42% of children ages 0-8 years old had their own tablet, 78% of them had a tablet in their household, and 95% had a smartphone in the household (Common Sense Media, 2017).  While society deems this acceptable, how does this increase in technology effect a child’s development?  The rapid ascension of mobile device use by children is likely to have an impact on family dynamics and the child’s health, development, and literacy (Kabali et al., 2015).  There are many developmental issues that are associated with media.  Physical development is usually decreased as children spend more time inside on media than outside playing, as well as the way children communicate and their sleep habits.  Studies have shown that, “screen time, in particular, television viewing, has been negatively associated with the development of physical and cognitive abilities” (Domingues-Montanari, 2017).  This is still being investigated by healthcare providers and researchers to prove these findings.

Media is a controversial subject in society.  Many parents use television as a way to distract their child, in order to get things done for themselves.  There are some that even believe it is beneficial to the child, while others believe it causes developmental problems.  Media can be fine in moderation, but when children are spending hours on it each day, it presents as more of an issue.  Children are very perceptive.  Their minds are similar to a sponge, absorbing everything they see and hear.  According to Kirch (2010), one simple conclusion can be drawn: media exposure does influence infants, children, and adolescents.  There is power in the media.  Furthermore, what effects does the increasing media usage have on children and their development?

Significance of the Problem to Clinical Practice

        Media is used in the medical field on a daily basis.  It is used to distract patients, especially children, during frightening procedures. This is why it is believed that media usage impacts the healthcare system.  Studies have shown the effects media devices can have on children, so it is important for healthcare providers to be aware of potential medical issues related to media use.  Physicians should screen for any genetic mutations in excessive media device users due to radiation admitted by the devices. Another thing they need to keep an eye out for are the risk factors associated with media use. Children are able to handle one or two risk factors without negative consequences, but when there are three or four risk factors present, negative consequences are more likely to occur (Kirch, 2010).  Finding ways to educate facilities and their staff on the potential risks media can create will be beneficial in reducing the number of negative outcomes a child could experience.

        Another important part of this problem is the impact it has on children and their families.  Parents need to be educated about the effects media has on their child’s development, both positively and negatively.  Many families have become reliant on media devices.  They should be aware of the potential risks involved with excessive media use and consider ways of decreasing their amount of screen time, especially as their children get older.  Studies have shown that children ages 8-18 spend, on average, 8.5 hours per day consuming media (Kirch, 2010).  It also affects a family’s dynamic as they tend to spend more time on their devices than with each other.  Limiting screen time during meal time is important in promoting family togetherness and encourages health eating behaviors (Domingues-Montanari, 2017).  Overall, it is important to inform parents of their options, encouraging limits to media usage, and providing a nonjudgmental atmosphere.

PICO Question

        In children, what is the effect of daily media usage in comparison to those who don’t use media daily on child development?

Search Strategy

        The main database used to find articles and resources for this project was CINAHL.  CINAHL is an acronym for Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature.  Initially, the keywords used were “screen time effects on children.”  CINAHL composed a list of 262 results using these words.  This was a large amount of results, although no limited needed to be applied since the articles already met the desired criteria.  I decided to change the keywords used to “screen time” and “child development,” in order to lower the number of results found.  When searching these keywords, the database revealed 57 results.  This was not an overwhelming amount, but to narrow down the search to the most relevant resources, limits were applied.  By making sure the articles were “peer-reviewed,” “research articles or books,” within the years 2010-present, and in the English language, the search dropped down to 23 results.



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