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Taiwan 3-year-olds average over 2 hours of daily screen time: survey
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Children play with electronic devices in Hsinchu in an undated photograph.

Over 90 percent of Taiwanese children aged between 3 and 5 use personal electronic devices at home, with 3-year-olds averaging an overall screen time of two hours and 17 minutes per day, according to a survey released on Thursday.

The survey of 1,732 parents, which counted the use of all types of so-called 3C devices (computers, communication, and consumer electronics), was released at a press conference by National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) and Parenting magazine.

It found that over 90 percent of Taiwanese children aged 3-5 used screen-based devices at home, with the longest average screen time among children not yet of school age.

Three-year-olds averaged two hours and 17 minutes of screen time per day, while 4-year-olds averaged one hour and 59 minutes, and 5-year-olds averaged one hour and 36 minutes, the survey showed.

Meanwhile, 3-year-olds who came from a lower-middle-class background had the highest daily screen time, at three hours and two minutes, according to the survey.

'The more that kids are using these devices, the less they are interacting with their parents,' said Chang Chien-ju (張鑑如), a professor in NTNU's Department of Human Development and Family Studies and one of the survey's directors.

'This is something that negatively affects their social, emotional, and physical development, as well as their cognitive and linguistic abilities,' she said.

Chang recommended that parents limit their children's daily screen time to under an hour, and to use the extra time to play, read or talk with their children, or have meals together.

Peng Fu-yuan (彭富源), director-general of the Ministry of Education's (MOE) K-12 Education Administration, noted that personal electronics use was likely to be highest among the one-in-four Taiwanese 3-year-olds who had not yet entered pre-school.

In the future, the MOE will consider sending information about how to reduce kids' use of electronic devices with the statements for monthly childcare subsidies that most parents receive, he said.

Taiwan's Ministry of Health and Welfare recommends that 3-year-olds be limited to 30 minutes of screen time per day and that 4-6-year-olds be limited to one hour, with a 10-minute break every half hour to rest their eyes.

(Taipei, March 31 (CNA) By Chen Chih-chung and Matthew Mazzetta)

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