Screen technology exposure and infant cognitive development: A scoping review




Adams, Carin
Kubin, Laura
Humphrey, John

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Problem: There has been some concern that screen exposure is harmful to an infant's cognitive development, but the effects of screen technologies on cognition are not fully understood. A scoping review was conducted to determine what evidence exists about screen exposure and cognitive development in children ages birth to 24 months.

Eligibility criteria: Inclusion = 1) English language; 2) studies focusing on children under 24 months of age; 3) cognitive development; 4) screen exposure. Exclusion = 1) articles over 25 years old; 2) structure, function and physiology of the brain; 3) social development; 4) psychosocial development; 5) motor development; 6) abnormal development/mental health; 7) behavior; 8) content only, not screen exposure e.g., social media; 9) secondary sources.

Sample: Ten studies met the inclusion criteria. Articles included one retrospective chart review, six longitudinal studies, two cross-sectional studies, and one prospective study.

Results: Of the ten studies in this review, six reported correlations between screen exposure and cognitive delay, one study reported positive cognitive outcomes and three reported no significant positive or negative outcomes.

Conclusions: From the evidence in this scoping review, no causal relationship has been found between screen exposure and infant cognitive harm. Some correlations between screen exposure and cognitive delay were reported. Some positive cognitive outcomes were also reported.

Implications: Future research should focus on the context of screen viewing as opposed to dosage or exposure. More robust methodologies should be used to assess infant cognition and screen usage.


Article originally published in Journal of Pediatric Nursing. English. Published online 2022.


Infant, Cognitive development, Digital technology, Screen time


This is the published version of an article that is available at Recommended citation: Adams, C., Kubin, L., & Humphrey, J. (2022). Screen technology exposure and infant cognitive development: A scoping review. Journal of Pediatric Nursing. This item has been deposited in accordance with publisher copyright and licensing terms and with the author’s permission.