I will be summarizing a scientific journal article titled Early Childhood Electronic Media Use as a predictor of Poorer Well-being by Hinkley et al. (2014). This journal article is about early childhood screen time as a predictor of overall poorer well-being, it is a prospective cohort study. The author’s reason for writing this journal article is to see if there is a link between preschool age children’s electronic media usage, and their overall well-being; which is vital to support long term out comes. The importance of this study derives from the harmful health effects of sedentary behavior, which is having low energy while sitting or in a reclining posture, and this is becoming more increasing acknowledged in children today. Research evidence has shown that these sedentary behaviors may cause detrimental effects even at a very young age. Electronic usage such as watching hours of television, and using the computer to play e-games, is considered to be sedentary behaviors. The main objective of this study was to find out if there was a dose response link of children’s early electronic use, and following up with their overall well-being 2 years later.
This research study collected data from the Europeans IDEFICS (Identification and prevention of dietary and lifestyle-induced health effects in children and infants) study. The IDEFICS study is a European Cohort study that examined the causes of lifestyle and diet related illnesses, and disorders in children and created a comprehensive primary prevention plan focusing on obesity in childhood. The participants come from a population based sample from 16,864 children from ages 2 to 9 years old, they were recruited from 8 various European countries, Sweden, Spain, Italy, Germany, Hungary, Cyprus, Estonia, and Belgium.
The measures used for this research is a data collection processes that were available in a central survey manual, and a quality control checks were executed at all study centers to make sure the standardized data was collected from all countries. The researchers used a parental questionnaire, which was tested for its structure, length, comprehensibility, and parental reports of children’s electronic media use were obtained. Each parent was required to complete the questionnaire at home, or during a study examination.
Results showed that associations Males spent more time in each media use at baseline than females. Increased levels of electronic use predicted poorer well-being outcomes in both females and males. Television viewing on any day was more consistently associated with poor well-being effects, than computer use/e-games.
What did you learn or find interesting and why? I found it interesting that this article confirmed my beliefs that early electronic use can lead to poor health outcomes. I thought this research study was interesting because growing up I watched a lot of Television, and used my computer a lot, and I always wondered what impacts that had on my overall development. This research article helped me reflect on my childhood experiences with screen time.
What was confusing and why? If nothing was confusing, say nothing was confusing and why (the paper was clearly written, you studied this topic before etc.).
The conclusion was very brief and I don’t think it went into detail enough. It also says that further research is required to identify potential mechanisms for this association, but doesn’t explain how to identify potential mechanisms. The results were not very clear, and it was a little bit confusing, there was a lot going on throughout the article that it made it difficult to follow. If you are not into research it is difficult to understand and interpret. In the methods section, it says that data was collected procedures were available in a central survey manual, but the author doesn’t explain what that is.
What are your thoughts or concerns about the quality of their research methods: (What did the researchers do well? What could have been done differently?)
The research methods required solely on parental participation, so their might have been biases, or maybe they didn’t always observe and record screen time usage. Parents also can’t observe and record screen time if they are at a friend’s house, or with other family members. I also think the two year follow up doesn’t include any major life events or changes, which could alter the outcomes. For example, if a child goes through a traumatic event such as getting in a car accident or losing a loved one.
What are your thoughts about the authors’ conclusions. (Do you agree or disagree with their conclusions and why?) Like I stated earlier, the conclusion was very brief, and it could have been a little more comprehensive. I agree with the conclusion that their needs to be further research on this topic.
How does the paper relate to our class and one of your other classes. You can also say it does not relate and why. This paper relates to my cross cultural development class, because we are learning about parenting beliefs and practices, and screen time is definitely a parenting practice that I have seen many times in various public settings such as restaurants and malls. I have seen toddlers that are watching ipads or phones while the parents are eating dinner and talking amongst each other.
How can you relate what you read to your own life?
I can relate this to my own life, because recently I have been trying to cut back on my screen time. I see everybody around me just addicted to their phones, and they are missing out on being mindful of the present moment. After reading this it made me think of my future children, and how I want to limit their screen time as much as possible, and let them play outside more, do aesthetic hobbies such as dancing, music, and not to have to heavily rely on screen time for entertainment.
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