Original Article | Volume 17 Number 3: 0 | 27 Oct 2022

Prevalence and description of digital device use among preschool children: A cross-sectional study in Kota Setar District, Kedah

ABSTRACT

Introduction: Digital device helps children enhance academic, cognitive and psychomotor skills. However, prolonged use causes physical inactivity, poor interpersonal skills and communication problems. Information on digital device use among young children in Malaysia is currently limited. Hence, this study aimed to determine the prevalence of digital device utilisation among preschool children in Kota Setar District, Kedah.
Methods: A cross-sectional study at government preschools in Kota Setar District was conducted from February to April 2020. Selection of preschools and students was done using multistage simple randomisation. A self-administered questionnaire containing demographic and digital device use details was filled by parents.
Results: The prevalence of digital device use among preschool children was 95.9% and mostly used smartphones (94.2%). Most children (95%) did not own the device, and usage was under supervision (95.7%). The reason for supervision was to prevent exposure to inappropriate content (70.5%). The common reasons for allowing digital device use were for educational (37.4%) and entertainment purposes (36%) through videos (30.9%) and games (30.2%). Approximately 21.5% and 50.3% of the children spent more than 1 and 2 hours on digital devices during weekdays and weekends, respectively.
Conclusion: The prevalence of digital device use among the preschool children in Kota Setar District was very high. Most of them used digital devices for educational and entertainment purposes under parental supervision. However, some exceeded the recommended screen time on weekends. These findings could promote awareness of digital device use among young children and help design public health awareness programmes and future policies.

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