Introduction Although mobile devices are used ubiquitously, studies on their detrimental effects on preschoolers are limited. Furthermore, no study has considered shared reading and mobile device usage simultaneously. Therefore, this study examined the effects of mobile devices and shared reading on preschoolers' development along with the effects of maternal depression on this association. Materials and methods Mothers of 202 children aged 2-5 years were recruited in Taiwan. Maternal self-reported questionnaires on mobile device usage, shared reading, and child's emotional and behavioral development were collected. Multiple linear regression models were used for analyses. Results Mothers' higher usage time on mobile devices and an education level of college or less were significantly associated with the child's exceeding recommended use of mobile devices. Particularly among depressed mothers, preschoolers' exceeding recommended use of mobile devices was associated with more sleep (β = 9.87, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.34, 18.40) and attention (β = 7.20, 95% CI = 1.50, 12.91) problems, whereas shared reading was associated with less somatic complaints (β = -16.19, 95% CI = -32.22, -0.15) and withdrawn (β = -21.50, 95% CI = -40.52, -2.47), compared with their respective counterparts. Conclusion Our study suggested the beneficial effects of shared reading. Moreover, we highlighted the adverse effects of preschoolers' exceeding recommended use of mobile device on sleep and attention problems, especially for children of mothers with depression.
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