Evaluation of problematic screen exposure in pre-schoolers using a unique tool called "seven-in-seven screen exposure questionnaire": cross-sectional study

BMC Pediatr. 2021 Oct 25;21(1):472. doi: 10.1186/s12887-021-02939-y.

Abstract

Background: Screen media exposure has been increasing in the preschool years. Risky aspects of screen exposure have many potential negative effects on children's health. We aimed to evaluate problematic screen exposure in Turkish preschool children by using a unique tool called the "Seven-in-Seven Screen Exposure Questionnaire" and to investigate factors associated with problematic screen exposure.

Methods: A questionnaire form was designed including general descriptive questions in the first part. In the second part, a questionnaire we designed called the "Seven-in-Seven Screen Exposure Questionnaire" was conducted to evaluate problematic screen exposure characteristics. The questionnaire included seven items: daily screen time, viewing with parent(s), setting screen limits, screen exposure during meals and in the hour before bedtime, age of onset of screen exposure, and viewing low-quality content. The total problematic screen exposure score (range 0-13) was generated by summing scores from the seven items. Total scores are classified into two categories: low (< 7) and high (≥ 7). Logistic regression was performed to search for independent parameters associated with problematic screen exposure.

Results: One thousand two hundred forty-five mother-child pairs participated in this study. The median age of the children was 3.9 (IQR: 2.9-4.7) years and 51% were males. Overall, 280 children (22.5%) had a problematic screen exposure score of ≥7 (high). The median problematic screen exposure score was 4 (IQR: 3-6). Maternal age of < 30 years; paternal age of ≥30 years; maternal educational level of ≤12 years; the age of 24-48 months; home-based daycare; postponing eating, toileting, or sleeping while using a screen; and using touchscreen devices were found to be associated with an increased risk of having a high problematic screen exposure score.

Conclusion: Developing national scales to monitor problematic screen use in children would be more effective than monitoring screen time alone. All of the screen use characteristics not recommended in children would be evaluated using problematic screen exposure scales. The "Seven-in-Seven Screen Exposure Questionnaire" may serve as an example for further studies.

Keywords: Pre-schoolers; Problematic screen exposure; Questionnaire; Unique.