Publication Details

Tomaz, S., Hinkley, T., Jones, R., Watson, E., Twine, R., Kahn, K., Norris, S. & Draper, C. (2020). Screen time and sleep of rural and urban South African preschool children. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17 (15), 1-12.


This study aimed to investigate the extent to which preschool children meet guidelines for screen time (/day) and sleep (10–13 h/24-h) and explored home factors that affect these behaviors. Parents of preschoolers across income settings in South Africa (urban high-income n = 27, urban low-income n = 96 and rural low-income n = 142) completed a questionnaire. Urban high-income children had higher rates of exceeding screen time guidelines (67.0%) than children from urban low-income (26.0%) and rural low-income (3.5%) settings. Most children (81.0%) met sleep guidelines on weekdays and on weekends (75.0%). More urban high-income children met the sleep guideline, in comparison to both low-income settings. Fewer urban high-income parents (50.0%) thought that screen time would not affect their preschooler’s health, compared to urban low-income (90.4%) and rural low-income (81.7%) parents. Weeknight bedtime was positively correlated with both weekday screen time (p = 0.001) and weekday TV time (p = 0.005), indicating that more time on screens correlated with later bedtimes. Meeting screen time and sleep guidelines differs across income settings, but it is evident that parents of preschoolers across all income settings would benefit from greater awareness about guidelines.



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