Survey finds 90% of young children use electronic gadgets

More than 90 percent of Taiwanese aged three to five use personal electronic devices at home, with three-year-olds spending an average of two hours and 17 minutes in front of a screen a day, according to a survey released yesterday.

The survey of 1,732 parents, which counted the use of computers, communication devices and consumer electronics, was released at a press conference by the National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) and Parenting magazine.

It found that more than 90% of children in this age group used screen-based devices at home, with the youngest children surveyed having the longest average screen time.

Photo: Ho Tsung-han, Taipei Times

Three-year-olds spent an average of two hours and 17 minutes in front of a screen per day, while four-year-olds averaged one hour and 59 minutes and five-year-olds averaged one hour and 36 minutes, according to the investigation.

Three-year-olds from the lower middle class had the highest daily screen time, at three hours and two minutes on average, according to the survey.

“The more children use these devices, the less they interact with their parents,” said Chang Chien-ju (張鑑如), a professor in NTNU’s Department of Human Development and Family Studies and one of the survey’s directors.

“It negatively affects their social, emotional and physical development, as well as their cognitive and linguistic abilities,” she said.

Chang recommended that parents limit their children’s daily screen time to less than an hour and use the extra time to play, read or talk with their children, or eat meals together.

K-12 education administration general director Peng Fu-yuan (彭富源) said personal use of electronics was highest among three-year-olds who had not yet entered kindergarten.

The Ministry of Education plans to send information on how to reduce the use of electronic devices by children with the statements of the monthly childcare subsidies that most parents receive, he said. .

The Department of Health and Welfare recommends three-year-olds be limited to 30 minutes of screen time per day and four- to six-year-olds be limited to one hour, with a 10-minute break every half hour to rest their eyes.

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