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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 15  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 538-543

Amount of screen time and occurrence of autistic-like symptoms in toddlers in a tertiary care hospital

1 Department of Psychiatry, Santhiram Medical College and General Hospital, Nandyal, Andhra Pradesh, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Santhiram Medical College and General Hospital, Nandyal, Andhra Pradesh, India
3 Department of Pediatrics, Santhiram Medical College and General Hospital, Nandyal, Andhra Pradesh, India
4 Department of Psychiatry, Dr. D Y Patil Medical College, Dr. D Y Patil Vidyapeeth, Pune, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Suprakash Chaudhury
Department of Psychiatry, Dr. D. Y. Patil Medical College, Dr. D. Y. Patil Vidyapeeth, Pimpri, Pune - 411 018, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/mjdrdypu.mjdrdypu_720_20

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Background: Currently due to the easy accessibility of virtual gadgets connected through the internet, there is a constant negative impact from on-screen media exposure, which is seen increasing among toddlers. Aim: This study aims to evaluate the impact of screen exposure on toddlers. Materials and Methods: A convenient sample of 80 toddlers aged between 9 and 36 months were enrolled for the study, conducted for 3 months after obtaining written informed assent from parent/primary caregiver. Prior I. E. C. clearance is obtained for the study. A sample of 80 toddlers who were exposed to screen and attended to constantly by a parent/primary caregiver were included in the study. All were assessed by a pretested questionnaire regarding screen media use and Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers Revised. Results: About 52.5% toddlers were male and 47.5% were female. Around 36.5% toddlers screen-viewed for only about 1–2 h/day. 53% of the toddlers with more than 4 h of screen time per day were at high risk for developing Autism. Thus, a statistically significant correlation (P = 0.001) was established between the duration of screen use and the score of the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers-Revised scale, with increased screen time showing greater autistic-traits. Conclusion: Toddlers with high screen media use developed autistic-like traits that may even progress to Autism. Hence, it is advisable to educate the parents/primary caregiver regarding the hazardous effects of early exposure to screen use.

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