Christina Bergmann, Nevena Dimitrova, Khadeejah Alaslani, ... None, Christina Keller, ... None and Nivedita Mani

Young children's screen time during the first COVID-19 lockdown in 12 countries

Scientific Reports

Older children with online schooling requirements, unsurprisingly, were reported to have increased screen time during the first COVID-19 lockdown in many countries. Here, we ask whether younger children with no similar online schooling requirements also had increased screen time during lockdown. We examined children’s screen time during the first COVID-19 lockdown in a large cohort (n=2209) of 8-to-36-month-olds sampled from 15 labs across 12 countries. Caregivers reported that toddlers with no online schooling requirements were exposed to more screen time during lockdown than before lockdown. While this was exacerbated for countries with longer lockdowns, there was no evidence that the increase in screen time during lockdown was associated with socio-demographic variables, such as child age and socio-economic status (SES). However, screen time during lockdown was negatively associated with SES and positively associated with child age, caregiver screen time and attitudes towards children’s screen time. The results highlight the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on young children’s screen time.

Altmetric score: 520. This article is in the 99th percentile (ranked 1,258th) of the 369,948 tracked articles of a similar age in all journals.