Children’s social communication skills and electronic screen exposure, perinatal, and other risk factors
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To explore if exposure to electronic screen media (ESM) can increase the risk of poor social communication skills in children.
Subjects and methods
Using the stratified, random cluster sampling method, 81,282 children aged 3–12 years from seven districts in Shanghai were investigated in 2014. The children’s social communication skills were measured by the social communication questionnaire (SCQ).
More television viewing time every day was positively associated with the positive SCQ group (p ≤ 0.001). There was a dose–effect relationship between television screen time and its associated odds ratios (ORs). However, weekly time spent online or playing games for 3 h or less was negatively associated with the positive SCQ group (p < 0.05) by a multivariable logistic regression model. Other child and family characteristics were also found to impact SCQ performance.
Significant associations of child and family characteristics with poor SCQ status were revealed in the Chinese children, which may be crucial for early intervention. To assess effects on children’s social development, screen time and multiple patterns of screen use should be considered for future guidelines and policies.
KeywordsSocial communication questionnaire (SCQ) Social communication skills Risk factors Perinatal factors Electronic screen media (ESM)
We are grateful to all the parents and teachers for their assistance and cooperation in this study. The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Shanghai Municipal Health and Family Planning Commission (11PH1951202), the Innovation Fund of Pudong New Area Science and Technology Development Fund (PKJ2013-Y63), and the Project of Shanghai Children’s Health Service Capacity Construction (GDEK201708).
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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