The Latest KIT findings on Keep Thinking! (May 25, 2022)
The latest findings derived from the KIT database have been released on Keep Thinking!, an online platform created by the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Ministry of Science and Technology. Please go to https://humanityisland.nccu.edu.tw/chien-ju-chang/ to read the report.
Press release announcing KIT latest findings on young children’s use of electronic products (April 1, 2022)
More than 90% of the KIT study children aged three to five use electronic devices. The younger the children are, the longer time they spend on these gadgets and the greater negative impact there is on their language and cognitive development. Shared reading with children of this age and parent-child interactions are recommended by scholars and industry professionals for better language and cognitive development.
Related news: Taiwan 3-year-olds average over 2 hours of daily screen time: survey (available at https://pr.ntnu.edu.tw/en_about_us/en_news.php?mode=data&id=12652)
Press release announcing KIT latest findings on five-year-old preschool children (March 30, 2021)
Five-year-old children who attend preschools outperform those who don’t in cognitive development, language development, and physical-motor skills. The differences are positively associated with the relationship between children’s family and the preschool they attend. Generally speaking, children develop better if they attend preschools which provide higher quality activities and environments.
Press release announcing KIT latest findings on first-year elementary-school students (February 20, 2021)
First-year elementary-school students spend an average of three hours and six minutes using smartphones and tablets on weekends and holidays. They spend only four hours and 50 minutes per week exercising, far less than seven hours that first-year elementary-school students in the US spend exercising per week.
Children spend too much time using gadgets: NTNU (available at http://en.ntnu.edu.tw/news-show.php?id=12574)
Press conference of the KIT project on April 3rd, 2019
News release from the Ministry of Science and Technology (retrieved from https://reurl.cc/zbbzVy)
Moving Forward with Child Development - Kids in Taiwan: National Longitudinal Study of Child Development and Care (KIT)
Children are the future of our country. The physical and mental well-being of the children are important indicators of the prosperity and progress of a society. Because infancy and childhood are essential stages in human development, many countries have invested substantial funding and resources in building large data banks for longitudinal studies in child development. To move forward with research and practices in child development, the Department of Human Development and Family Studies and Education Research and Evaluation Center at National Taiwan Normal University launched the national longitudinal study, Kids in Taiwan: National Longitudinal Study of Child Development and Care (KIT) in August 2014 through funding from the Ministry of Science and Technology. With the full support from the Ministry of Science and Technology, the nationwide longitudinal survey started in March 2016.
The KIT project is one of the first research projects aiming at early childhood developmental trajectories in the region. The research team is a multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional collaboration, consisting of experts from child development, early childhood and family education, educational psychology, early intervention, clinical medicine, and survey research. Based on the Ecological System Theory and Life Course approach, the KIT project conducts interviews with parents, relatives, and teachers, as well as direct assessments and interviews with the children. The main goal of the project is to follow up with the health, cognitive, language, social, emotional, and motor development of children in Taiwan. The project also monitors the consistency and changes of the home, child care, and school environments that children experience from 0 to 8 years old. The results of the project not only deliver valuable information for parents and early childhood educators, but also provide the government important empirical evidence for policy initiatives.
Two groups of children, 3-month-olds and 36-month-olds, are followed over time, and their developmental condition and family and care information are longitudinally collected by the KIT project. They are nationally representative samples representing children in Taiwan. The 3-month-old group (KIT-M3) consists of children whose birthday are between 2016/4/1 and 2017/6/30, and the 36-month-old group (KIT-M36) consists of children whose birthday are between 2013/4/1 and 2014/3/31. The KIT project uses a stratified two-stage probability-proportional-to-size sampling method to select the participants. A total of 13,692 and 4,260 children were selected for KIT-M3 group and KIT-M36 group, respectively. There were 6,590 KIT-M3 families and 2,164 KIT-M36 families agreed and completed the first wave of data collection. Besides the parents, other caregivers, such as a relative who takes care the child during the day or a teacher at the child care facility the child attends, are also interviewed. From March 2016 on, the KIT project has completed more than 50,000 interviews, including 38,058 parent interviews, 9,329 relative interviews, and 3,097 teacher interviews. The data collection of KIT-M3 subjects at 3, 6 and 12 months old, and the data collection of KIT-M36 subjects at 36 and 48 months old have been completed. It is expected that the establishment of the child development data bank for children 0-6 years old in Taiwan will be completed by the end of July 2020.
The KIT project collects comprehensive information on child development and child care environment and experience. In this news conference, data from the interview of the KIT-M36 group at 3 year old (a total of 2,164 children; including 1,113 boys and 1,051 girls) were examined and the associations between child development and parent reading with the child, screen time, family learning environment, and child care conditions are discussed. The main messages are as follows:
1. Parent reading with the child: This study found that the number of books the child owns in the family is linked to the overall development of the child, especially cognitive and language development. However, only 40% of the families reported having more than 30 children’s books at home. The number is relatively low compared to 70% in Australia (based on a sample of children aged from 2 to 6 years old). Furthermore, only about 30% of the parents read more than four times a week with their children in Taiwan and about one third of the parents reported either having never or rarely read to their children. Compared to the data from Australia, which showed that half of the parents read to their children 6-7 times a week, the frequency of parent reading with the child is very low in Taiwan.
2. Screen time: Using electronic devices among children is a global phenomenon. The time children in Taiwan spent on screen (including TVs, computers, electronic notepads, mobile phones, etc.) were similar to those in other countries. The average screen time was 2.3 hours per day for children in Taiwan. Screen time of children from Shanghai, Melbourne and the US were 2.8, 2.1, and 2.65 hours, respectively. This study also found that the prolonged use of these devices had a negative impact on children’s overall development. The result is consistent with the suggestions from The American Academy of Pediatrics that children among 2 to 5 years old should not use digital media for longer than one hour every day. It is also important that parents monitor and guide their children’s media use.
3. Family learning environment: The indicators of family learning environment include learning materials, learning stimuli, environmental diversity, and parenting styles. This study found that children from a family that provided a more positive and diverse learning environment performed better in overall development.
4. Location and time at child care: We defined child care as care provided by people other than child’s own parents during the day, including caring by a relative and attending formal facilities. Nearly 60% of the 3-year-old children were cared by people other than their parents during the day. Location and time at child care are important to child development. Children who spent less than 10 hours a day at child care performed better than children who spent longer than 11 hours a day. Children who attended formal child care facilities had better performance than those who stayed with a relative or a nanny.
5. Among children who are cared by people other than who In terms of time spent at the child care, Attending child care facilities seemed to have a positive effect on overall development.
6. Quality of the child care: Based on the quality of activity, curriculum and teaching, learning environment and teacher-student interaction, this study found that the quality of the child care facilities had a positive impact on the overall development, especially on social-emotional development.
In addition, this study found that children from different socioeconomic status (SES) families had a significant difference in overall developmental trajectories. Children from low SES families had fewer children’s books at home, less co-reading time and poorer family learning environment. However, the screen time and non-enrollment ratio were higher among children from low SES families.
The above issues only present some of the many factors that affect the development of a child. Further research is needed. The KIT project is releasing the data from the first wave of survey (KIT-M36). Researchers who are interested in this databank can access the data through the Survey Research Data Archive at the Academia Sinica (http://srda.sinica.edu.tw). Data from other waves will be released in the future. Researchers in Taiwan and abroad can use the data for further research on child development.
To improve the well-being of children in Taiwan, the government has made great efforts and has initiated many child care policies in recent years, such as child care subsidies, the public child care system, and free education for young children. Owing to the support from the Ministry of Science and Technology, the KIT project will continue to provide essential information regarding early intervention and education programs for young children, as well as scientific, evidence-based data for policy making in children’s health, welfare, and child care systems.
National longitudinal Study of Child Development and Care Assisted by NTNU (available at https://reurl.cc/7yyoGb)