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Screen use among young children: contexts and consequences
Haute Ecole de Travail Social de Lausanne, Switzerland
Screens are pervasive, including in the lives of young children. While recent studies allow for substantial knowledge on screen use in school-aged children and teens, we know relatively little about when, how and why infants and pre-schoolers use digital screens along with the effects screens have on young children. Unternaehrer et al. will present data from a nation-wide ongoing survey on pre-schoolers’ screen use that represents the first descriptive Swiss findings on the types and duration of screens, as well as on the content and context of screen use. Young children use screens beyond their homes; very recently, day-care centres have started incorporating screens into pre-school activities. Steiner et al. will present findings on the benefits and drawbacks from digitalisation practices in early childhood institutions. While contexts of young children’s screen use are crucial, public interest focuses on the consequences of such use in early childhood. Screens are found to affect emotional reward systems along with engagement and learning from others. Bolten & DiGallo will show findings on the negative effect of offering screens as “digital pacifiers” on children’s emotion regulation and behaviour. Crevola et al. will offer an insight on parent-child reading of e-books vs print books and will show findings suggesting that child’s ability to sustain joint attention and to learn new words is not impacted by book format. A general discussion will focus on how data on contexts of child screen use can help us better inform Swiss research on impact of screen use in young children.