Screen Viewing Behaviour among Children under 2 Years in Fiji: Reasons and the Perceptions of Parents/Caregivers

  •  Nileshni Devi    
  •  Masoud Mohammadnezhad    
  •  Amelia Turagabeci    


BACKGROUND: Screen-viewing among children has become a growing public health concern. There is no existing research done in Fiji on children’s screen viewing behaviour, therefore, this study aimed to determine the reasons and the perceptions of parents/caregivers in affecting screen viewing behaviour among children under 2 years in Suva Fiji.

MATERIALS & METHODS: This cross-sectional mixed method study was conducted at three randomly selected Maternal Child Health (MCH) clinics among parents or accompanying guardians of children under two years old. Using proportional sampling, 361 participants who met the study criteria participated in this study. Data collection was carried out using a 20-item self-administrated questionnaire for quantitative study and a semi-structured open-ended questionnaire for the qualitative study through two Focus Group Discussions (FGDs). Descriptive analysis was used for quantitative data and thematic analysis was applied for the qualitative data to emerge themes.

RESULTS: Most children (32.8%) watched screens several times in a week, regardless of age. The main reason for children’s screen time is that it is a distraction tool (29.9%) followed closely by using it to calm child or to prevent negative behaviour (26%) and education (22%). The study found that most of the parents/ caregivers know that there are negative consequences of screen time on their children. Majority of these parents/ caregivers (66%) however think that the only effect is that related to children’s eye health and are unaware of the other health consequences. About 24% think that there is no negative effect at all on children engaged in screen viewing. The study also found that more than half (56%) of the parents (or caregiver guardians) think that screen viewing below the age of 2 years actually has positive consequences on children. Of these the vast majority (76.7%) think that screen viewing makes their children smart/ helps them to learn from a very young age.

CONCLUSION: The findings of this study highlighted the main reasons of screen viewing among children under 2 years.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.