The Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center in cooperation with Brave Phone conducted a national survey in 2016 and 2017 on preschool children and their exposure to small screens, the results of which aroused significant interest from parents, educators and other professionals working with children and families. We are honored that in the June double issue of the Journal for interdisciplinary research in education, which has been published continuously since the 19th century, “Napredak” Vol. 161 No. 1-2, 2020 , published original scientific paper “Small children in front of screens: Croatia in relation to Europe and the world” authored by expert of the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center Mia Roje Đapić, MSc. of psychology, professor Gordana Buljan Flander, PhD and Ella Selak Bagarić, MSc. psychology which shows the screen time of Croatian preschoolers in relation to the screen time of children from other countries and gives us a new perspective.
Screen time refers to the time children spend using screens altogether. According to experts’ recommendations, children under the age of two should not use screens at all, and up until their school age, the screen time should not excede one hour, with parents actively involved. The aim of this study was to explore the pre-schoolers’ screen time habits in Croatia and comparatively analyse it with available data from other countries. The sample consists of 653 children attending preschool institutions in Croatia and the data are gathered from their guardians. The results show that all the children use screens starting before the age of two, with the screen time for more than two hours daily. In deciding to give them screens, parents are driven by a wish to entertain their children, teach them something, distract them, and help them fit into peer groups. The most challenging screen time topics for parents are to establish rules and parental supervision, and to assess the usefulness and harmfulness of screens for children. It can be concluded that the Croatian pre-schoolers’ screen time exceeds experts’ recommendations and puts children at risk. The results also imply the necessity of education, prevention and early childhood intervention. In conclusion, the time that children spend in front of small screens exceeds the recommendations of experts and puts children in a developmental risk group, thus implying the need for education, prevention and early intervention from the kindergarten age of children.
You can download the entire text from the portal of Croatian scientific and professional journals “Hrčak” in PDF format at the link (on Croatian language): https://hrcak.srce.hr/239891
Also, you can download English version here: SMALL CHILDREN IN FRONT OF SCREENS (PDF)
Disclaimer: This is unofficial translation provided for information purposes. Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center cannot be held legally responsible for any translation inaccuracy.