Excessive Screen Media Use in Preschoolers Is Associated with Poor Motor Skills

Erika Felix, Valter Silva, Michelle Caetano, Marcos V.V. Ribeiro, Thiago M. Fidalgo, Francisco Rosa Neto, Zila M. Sanchez, Pamela J. Surkan, Silvia Martins, Sheila C. Caetano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Excessive screen media use exposure is a robust childhood predictor of sedentary behavior. The association between excessive exposure to sedentary behaviors (e.g., screen media use) and motor skills and how this association differs across sociodemographic strata is an important knowledge gap that needs to be addressed. The study aims to investigate the association of motor skills and screen media use in preschool children, taking into account sociodemographic variables, physical activity, and sleep profile. A cross-sectional survey of 926 children from 27 preschools was performed. The main outcome was defined as motor skills assessed using the general motor quotient (GMQ). Independent variables included sociodemographic variables, screen media use, screen habits, physical activity, and sleep duration. Logistic regression models were used to estimate the associations between the children's motor skills and each exposure factor. More than 55 percent of the children ate while watching television and 28 percent spent a long time watching television, playing video games, or using a computer, tablet, or cell phone. Excessive screen media use increased the risk of a low GMQ by 72 percent and inactivity in children increased the odds by 90 percent; sleep duration at night decreased the odds of a low GMQ by 51 percent and daytime sleep decreased the odds by 33 percent. Excessive screen media use has been associated with poor motor skills and increased physical inactivity in children, especially among those with prolonged exposure. Our findings can alert parents to the consequences of excessive screen media use and can motivate policymakers to encourage sports and other health-promotion strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)418-425
Number of pages8
JournalCyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020


  • children
  • motor skills
  • physical activity
  • preschool
  • screen media use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Applied Psychology
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Science Applications


Dive into the research topics of 'Excessive Screen Media Use in Preschoolers Is Associated with Poor Motor Skills'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this