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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 25  |  Issue : 7  |  Page : 1115-1125

Screen viewing practices and caregivers' knowledge of the health-related effects in children and adolescents in a Nigerian Urban City

1 Department of Paediatrics, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria/University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Ituku-Ozalla, Enugu, Nigeria
2 Department of Medical Biochemistry, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria Enugu Campus, Enugu, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Dr. J N Eze
Department of Paediatrics, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria/University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Ituku- Ozalla, Enugu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/njcp.njcp_1706_21

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Background: Globally, a dramatic increase in the use of television and digital media has been observed among children and adolescents in recent times. The possible health-related effects of frequent and prolonged screen media viewing on these children and adolescents have triggered many concerns among researchers. Aim: The study is aimed to determine the screen media viewing practices and caregivers' level of knowledge about the health-related effects of prolonged screen viewing time on their children. This was a descriptive cross-sectional study among caregiver/child and adolescent dyads on outpatient clinic visits. Subjects and Methods: Respondents (caregivers/children's pairs) were consecutively recruited, and data was obtained using an unambiguous pre-tested semi-structured questionnaire comprising four domains: socio demographic characteristics; screen media viewing characteristics, perception of the health related effects of prolonged viewing time, and measures to limit prolonged screen viewing time in children. Descriptive and inferential statistics were done using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 22.0 at a level of statistical significance P < 0.05. Results: Of the 205 respondents studied, the majority (67.8%, fathers and 76.1%, mothers) had tertiary education. The daily mean time spent by children watching television/screen media was 2 (± 1.58) hours. Up to 89.3% of the caregivers established good standards for healthy screen-viewing in their homes. However, 52.7% of them had poor knowledge of the health-related problems of increased viewing time. Socio-economic class (P = 0.002) and knowledge level of the parents (P = 0.000) were significant predictors limiting children's screen-viewing time. Conclusion: Increasing screen media viewing is common among the children studied. The majority of the caregivers had poor knowledge of health-related effects of prolonged viewing time despite high educational attainment. There is a need to enlighten caregivers on the possible health effects of excess screen media viewing so as to enable them to institute stringent measures to limit the attendant health consequences on the children.

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