Fussy babies and toddlers are more likely to be exposed to media, according to a new study.
The researchers looked at data from 7,450 children in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study of children born in 2001, including information reported by parents at 9 months and 2 years of age.
The problems the babies and toddlers had included not being able to console themselves, sleep, emotional regulation and attention.
The researchers compared the children’s rates of self-regulation problems and their rates of media use. They found that the infants and toddlers whom parents described as most fussy and having other self-regulation difficulties also had the most media exposure, even after accounting for other factors that influence these characteristics, such as sociodemographic factors and home environment.
The researchers said it was not clear whether the children’s use of media developed in response to their fussiness, or if media use somehow contributed to some of their self-regulation difficulties. “Understanding this relationship may provide insight into helping parents reduce their children’s screen time,” wrote the study authors in their conclusion.
The study was published in Pediatrics.