A University of Alberta study found that preschoolers who have at least two hours of screen time per day are more likely to develop behavioural problems.

The study, led by Piush Mandhane, an associate professor of pediatric respiratory medicine, compared five-year-olds who had less than 30 minutes of screen time to those with more than two hours and found that the latter are more likely to pay less attention, act out or be hyperactive.

“We found that parents who reported two hours or more compared to those children who watched between 0 and 30 minutes had a fivefold increase in these behaviour problems, and sevenfold increase in reported ADHD symptoms, so it’s a quite large problem.” Mandhane said.

Screen time includes TV, movies, computers, video games, phones and tablets.

On average, five-year-olds tally 1.4 hours of screen time daily, and 13 per cent of them exceed the Canadian recommendation of two hours or less per day.

The study also found a solution for parents who are wondering what their children could do instead.

“Children who engaged in two hours or more per week of organized sport had less behaviour symptoms,” Mandhane said.

With files from CTV Edmonton’s Sarah Plowman