Screen media exposure and behavioral adjustment in early childhood during and after COVID-19 home lockdown periods

Noa Gueron-Sela, Ido Shalev, Avigail Gordon-Hacker, Alisa Egotubov, Rachel Barr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is ample evidence that young children's screen media use has sharply increased since the outbreak of the novel 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19). However, the long-term impact of these changes on children's adjustment is currently unclear. The goals of the current study were to assess longitudinal trajectories of young children's screen media exposure through a series of national COVID-19 home lockdowns and to examine the predictive associations between different aspects of media exposure and post-lockdown behavioral adjustment. Data were collected at four timepoints during and after home lockdown periods in Israel. Longitudinal data measuring various aspects of media use, behavioral conduct and emotional problems were gathered from a sample of 313 Israeli children (54% females) between the ages two to five years (Mage at T1 = 3.6), by surveying their mothers at 5 points in time. Child overall screen time use, exposure to background television, use of media to regulate child distress and maternal mobile device use all changed throughout the lockdown periods. Moreover, during lockdowns children's behavior problems were concurrently and positively correlated with screen time, use of media to regulate child distress, and exposure to background television. However, these were not longitudinally related to child behavior problems in the post-lockdown period. Possible implications for family media use during a public health crisis are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107572
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2023


  • Background television
  • Behavior problems
  • COVID-19
  • Early childhood
  • Screen time
  • Technoference

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychology(all)
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction


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