Time to Play in Javanese Preschool Children—An Examination of Screen Time and Playtime before and during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Soni Nopembri, Rizki Mulyawan, Puji Yanti Fauziah, Erma Kusumawardani, Indri Hapsari Susilowati, Lukman Fauzi, Widya Hary Cahyati, Tandiyo Rahayu, Terence Buan Kiong Chua, Michael Yong Hwa Chia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This comparative–descriptive multi-national research examined the screen time and playtime of preschool children aged 1–6 years before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Parents reported on the play and screen habits of preschool-aged children on the weekday and weekends using a questionnaire on the lifestyle habits of their children. Results indicated a significant difference in screen time and playtime on the weekday and weekend before the pandemic (screen time: 1.91 ± 2.40 vs. 2.16 ± 2.60 h; playtime: 3.55 ± 2.49 vs. 4.11 ± 2.58 h, both p < 0.05), but during the COVID-19 pandemic, only the weekday–weekend difference in screen time was significantly different (screen time: 2.87 ± 3.15 vs. 3.26 ± 3.18 h, p < 0.05; playtime: 3.25 ± 3.41 vs. 3.48 ± 2.41, p > 0.05). Before- and during-COVID-19 comparisons showed that the average daily screen time increased by 150% from 2.04 h to 3.06 h (p < 0.05), while the average play time decreased by 12.3% (3.83 to 3.36 h, p < 0.05). Based upon international guidelines for movement behaviours of young children, special attention and actions are needed to manage the excessive daily screen time and preserve the average daily playtime of Javanese preschool children. These results present useful benchmarking data for parents, teachers, and health authorities to initiate ameliorative interventions to better balance children’s screen time and playtime as Indonesia emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic to a COVID-19 endemic.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1659
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


  • COVID-19
  • playtime
  • preschoolers
  • screen time


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